LA CAMBE GERMAN CEMETERY
The German war dead from the Normandy campaign were scattered over a wide area, many of them buried in isolated or field graves - or small battlefield cemeteries. In the years following WW2, the German War Graves Commission, Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, decided to establish six main German cemeteries in the Normandy area, with the one here at La Cambe started in 1954. During this period the remains of more than 12,000 German soldiers were moved in from 1,400 locations in the departements of Calvados and the Orne. The cemetery was finished in 1961, and inaugurated in September of that year. Since this date more than 700 soldiers have been found on the battlefield, and are now also buried here.
In total there are 21,222 German soldiers commemorated here, of which 207 unknown and 89 identified are buried in a kamaradengraben (or mass grave) below the central tumulus.
Since the mid-1990s there has been an Information Centre on the site. Here you can see a permanent exhibition about the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, check casualties on a computer based database and there are also toilet facilities.
The cemetery is open daily from 08.00 - 19.00. The Information
Centre is open daily from 08.00 - 12.00 and 13.00 - 19.00.
Tank ace Michael Wittmann is buried here. Even before Normandy Wittmann had gained a high reputation on the Russian Front, and had been highly decorated. At Villers-Bocage in June 1944, he played havoc with the advance guard of 7th (Armoured) Division and caught them unawares with his Tiger I, inflicting heavy losses before he was forced to abandon it. He finally met his match south of Caen on 8th August 1944, when his Tiger was knocked out and all the crew killed, including Wittman. It was thought that Canadian armour, or RAF Typhoons had accounted for the Tank Ace, but recent research has shown it was a Sherman Firely from the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Wittmann's remains were not recovered until the early 1980s, when during research for his book Panzers in Normandy: Then and Now, Eric Levévre located the field graves and Wittmann and his crew were buried here.
©Paul Reed 2002-2006