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German Cemetary, Normandy

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  • German Cemetary, Normandy

    On the advice of a friend, I made sure to visit this cemetary on my trip to France in 2006. As somber as the American Cemetary was, this place seemed even bleaker. Set in a field surrounded by trees, it receives a lot less sunlight than the American Cemetary. Combine that with the rough hewn, black marble headstones and the place has a really dark feel to it.

    Follow the link to view the pictures on my Flickr account.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3185400...7608517765344/
    "Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded."

    "We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

    Rangers Lead The Way

  • #2
    Just incredible - I find German military cemeteries to be so forlorn and sad - whether its a WW1 or WWII cemetery, you go into one of these, and compared to French, Commonwealth, or American cemeteries, you just know this is belongs to a country who lost the war. They're dark, sad, gothic, and feel like they're rarely visited. So unlike other war cemeteries of similar eras.

    I visited the German WWI cemetery in Langemark, just outside Ypres. We went there right after our visit to Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. And to me, the two just didn't compare. I felt chills and incredible sadness in Langemark that had replaced the astonishment and amazement I felt at Tyne Cot - my girlfriend described Langemark as creepy - you definitley felt the sense of loss moreso in the German cemetery. I felt more than a little depressed leaving Langemark - quite a bit different than the pride and wonder I felt leaving Tyne Cot.

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    • #3
      By the way - I forgot to ask - is that a mass grave in that little hill/mound at the German cemetery? There was a mass grave at Langemark that held the remains of some 25,000 German soliders.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by VimyHero17 View Post
        By the way - I forgot to ask - is that a mass grave in that little hill/mound at the German cemetery? There was a mass grave at Langemark that held the remains of some 25,000 German soliders.
        I don't believe that is a mass grave, simply a memorial but I'm not sure. There appeared to be no attendants of any kind when we were there so we couldn't ask any questions. If you notice however the crosses are in groups of five. Each set of 5 crosses marks the graves of 10 soldiers.

        I agree with you, the feelings of darkness and morose here were almost overwhelming. What I found very surprising was that the French even tolerated such a place on their soil.
        "Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded."

        "We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

        Rangers Lead The Way

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        • #5
          I couldn't remember the name of the town where this cemetary was so I used the internet to help me out. It is in a place called La Cambe and was actually an American Cemetary originally. It held the bodies of many members of the 29th division before the majority of the American dead were moved to the cemetary above Omaha Beach.

          Here is a link to a website with some good information on the topic:

          http://www.omaha-beach.org/US-Versio...emeteries.html
          "Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded."

          "We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

          Rangers Lead The Way

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          • #6
            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.
            HP
            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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            • #7
              "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."

              Thanks for that HP I was not aware of that.
              "Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded."

              "We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

              Rangers Lead The Way

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              • #8
                Last year when I visited this cemetary, I also thought it was bleak and somber. Also surprised by the arragement of the graves with some many of them so close or even combined with small headstones. Our guide had mentioned the hill was made of unidentified remains and went about as deep as it was high...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ACSpectre View Post
                  What I found very surprising was that the French even tolerated such a place on their soil.
                  I've read somewhere that soon after WWI, the French and the Germans, and the Belgians too, made some sort of treaty that set land aside for the purposes of creating a German military cemetery. Apparantly the Belgians were more loathe to do so than the French, since they have a much smaller country and were hesitant to set aside large plots of land for the country that invaded them.

                  But a new treaty between France and Germany regarding WWII dead, and the upkeep and maintenace of the existing WWI gravesites, wasn't ratified until the 1960s - so it took a few years until the Germans were able to create and manage these war cemeteries in France.

                  http://www.greatwar.co.uk/westfront/...n/fricourt.htm

                  I thought that may have been a mass grave there - like I said, I saw something very similar in Langemark. The most moving, and disturbing mass grave I ever saw was at the ossuary at the Ft Douaumont memorial at Verdun - there you can see the remains of over 300,000 soldiers through windows - very creepy, but very moving....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by VimyHero17 View Post
                    I've read somewhere that soon after WWI, the French and the Germans, and the Belgians too, made some sort of treaty that set land aside for the purposes of creating a German military cemetery. Apparantly the Belgians were more loathe to do so than the French, since they have a much smaller country and were hesitant to set aside large plots of land for the country that invaded them.

                    But a new treaty between France and Germany regarding WWII dead, and the upkeep and maintenace of the existing WWI gravesites, wasn't ratified until the 1960s - so it took a few years until the Germans were able to create and manage these war cemeteries in France.

                    http://www.greatwar.co.uk/westfront/...n/fricourt.htm

                    I thought that may have been a mass grave there - like I said, I saw something very similar in Langemark. The most moving, and disturbing mass grave I ever saw was at the ossuary at the Ft Douaumont memorial at Verdun - there you can see the remains of over 300,000 soldiers through windows - very creepy, but very moving....
                    Thanks for the link, I bookmarked the homepage. I have only recently developed a keener interest in the history of The Great War. I am definitely putting sites from that period on the itinerary of my next European adventure.
                    "Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded."

                    "We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

                    Rangers Lead The Way

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ACSpectre View Post
                      What I found very surprising was that the French even tolerated such a place on their soil.
                      The same goes for the Franco-Prussian War. The French authorized Germany to build monuments and cemeteries on their soil. On the other hand, the Germans authorized France to build Napoleonic monuments on German soil.

                      Monument devoted to Bavarian soldiers who fought in the battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat. This photo was taken in 1904 and shows German veterans visiting the battlefield.




                      Monuments, memorials and cemeteries.

                      Battle of Woerth/Froeschwiller: http://www.omaha-beach.org/Travel/1870/Woerth.html

                      Battles of Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte-Saint Privat: http://www.omaha-beach.org/Travel/18...St.Privat.html
                      Last edited by Zouave; 05 Nov 08, 08:14.
                      My avatar: Center of the Cross of the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour) of the First French Empire (Napoleonic Era), 3rd type (awarded between 1806-1808). My Légion d'honneur. :-)

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                      • #12
                        Normandy war Cemetaries

                        Sorry if I'm a bit late on this thread ...

                        To complete the infos given in the previous posts, here is a link to a list and locations of the main war cemetaries in Normandy : normandiememoire

                        Best Regards,
                        Raum_Schiff.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by raum_schiff View Post
                          Sorry if I'm a bit late on this thread ...

                          To complete the infos given in the previous posts, here is a link to a list and locations of the main war cemetaries in Normandy : normandiememoire

                          Best Regards,
                          Raum_Schiff.
                          Thanks for the link, my friend. When I get back to France I will definitely try and see some of the sites on the list.
                          "Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded."

                          "We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."

                          Rangers Lead The Way

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