The cemetery at La Cambe is easy to find, located just off the main N13. There is ample car parking available, although the cemetery can get extremely busy particularly around D-Day anniversaries.
Established in the mid-1990s is a visitor center which provides information of the losses of Operation Overlord. Visitors can also view a permanent exhibition about the German War Graves Commission and access a database to locate the graves of dead German military personnel. A peace garden with 1,200 maple-trees is adjacent to the cemetery. The cemetery is open daily from 0800hrs to 1900hrs, and the visitor center is open daily from 0800hrs to 1200 and 1300hrs to 1900hrs.
La Cambe was established by the United States Army Graves Registration Service during the war, and was originally the resting place for both American and German soldiers, sailors and airmen - buried in two adjacent fields. In 1945, the Americans transferred two-thirds of their fallen from La Cambe back to America whilst the remainder were reinterred at the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
There are 21,222 burials at La Cambe, with 207 belonging to unknown soldiers. It is a very different place to the American and Commonwealth cemeteries. The crosses here are made from grey schist and do not mark individuals graves. Instead, burial locations are marked by plaques on the ground. The majority of the German war dead buried at La Cambe fell between 6th June and 20th August 1944, and their ages range from 16 to 72.
Two notable burials at La Cambe are SS-Sturmbannführer Adolf Diekmann, the most senior officer at the massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane, killed in Normandy on 29th June 1944; and SS-Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann the tank commander who, along with his crew, was killed on 8th August 1944. The remains of Wittman and his crew were discovered in 1983 and was reinterred togeether at La Cambe.
Unlike the American and Commonwealth War Graves Commissions, the German Commission is entirely voluntary and relies on gifts and collections to further its work. During the summer months one may see international school children tending the graves. They volunteer to work with the Volksbund during their school holidays and visit American and German war cemeteries, memorials, sites of the invasion and take part in the memorial ceremony with veterans and the mayor of La Cambe.