- Les Noires Terres, 14230 La Cambe, France
- +33 (0)2 31 22 70 76
The cemetery of La Cambe is located near Omaha Beach. With around 21.200 graves it is the largest and best known German military cemetery in Normandy. In contrast to the Allied cemeteries, the setting is simple and sober, creating a serenity that urges the living to live in peace.
Of the six German military cemeteries in Normandy, La Cambe, counting 21.200 graves, is the largest and best known. The other German cemeteries are (in order of importance): Champigny/Saint-André-de-l’Eure, Mont-de-Huines, Marigny, Orglandes and Saint-Désir-de-Lisieux. In total, the remains of 80.000 German soldiers are buried in Normandy. Some soldiers died already before the Battle of Normandy, some in captivity thereafter.
The La Cambe cemetery dates from the summer of 1944, when the U.S. Army established two temporary cemeteries on the battlefield near the village of La Cambe, one reserved for U.S. soldiers, the other for the Germans.
After the war, the American Battle Monuments Commission decided to gather the remains of the U.S. soldiers in the cemetery of Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer. In the 1950’s, the administration of German cemeteries was entrusted to the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, a private humanitarian organization, charged by the Federal Republic of Germany with taking care of the German war dead abroad, under the motto ‘Versöhnung über den Gräbern’ (‘reconciliation above the graves’). An internationally sponsored peace park with 1.200 maple trees was completed in 2009.
Like other German military cemeteries of the two world wars, La Cambe reflects the status of the defeated. Unlike Allied cemeteries, the crosses and headstones are of a dark tone, in accordance with what the Treaty of Versailles had already established in 1919 for cemeteries of the First World War. The bucolic character of the present cemetery urges the visitors to live in peace.