This was a surprising first stop, but proved to be very moving. It is the largest German cemetery in Normandy, holding the remains of 21,000 German troops. Despite this huge tally the cemetery covers only a small area, and is maintained exclusively by volunteers.
Our guide impressed upon us, and a sign at the entrance reminded us, that many of those who lost their lives resisting the landings, including conscripts from annexed territories, were young men “who had chosen neither the cause nor the fight.”
Grave markers are made of a dark basalt lava, giving it a very sombre atmosphere when compared to the luminous white headstones and crosses that dominate the US and Commonwealth war graves.