When entering the cemetary one is encountered with a mass grave, where the remains of about 9000 German soldiers have been gathered.
Unlike the British, who wanted their soldiers to be burried on or near the battlefields, the Germans decided to bring together the fallen soldiers in a few large cemetaries.
When British students come to Flanders, to visit the battlefields of WWI, they also plant poppy crosses for the German war victims. By doing this, they bring hope that, one time, there may be peace all over the world.
The citizens of Langemark saw a war pass by. Later they had the constant threat of becoming a warzone itself when the frontline would collapse and shift over their village. Some decided to fight, some decided to help the wounded that were resting in their houses. To remember the fallen inhabitants you can see a memorial column in front of the Langemark church.
The fact that Langemark was more distant from the frontline and the tranches ment that it was not completely destroyed in "fire barrages". Here however another tole took place as hospitals and restrooms showed the fysical and psychological effects of the Great War. Soldiers that had managesd to get out of no-man's land after being shot or wounded, ended up in Langemark and many other places to be helped. Many any way died after suffering, others were cured and send back into the hell of the tranches. Shellshock was a common psychological disorder, soldiers litteraly went crazy after days, weeks, months of stress from the continuously bombing and shelling.
In the centre of the village Langemark you see the large church on the central square. The village is in avergae one of the countrysides bigger ones and is as community linked to nearby Poelkapelle. As it was situated in fair distance from the frontline it was not completely wiped out, but here too the war took it's tole, when bombs accidently damaged buildings.
The entry building is split in two rooms. To the right one is shown the battlefields in Flanders and the frontline stretching out from the North Sea coast to the French sections leading to Switzerland. Here one can read about the battles that kept on leading to senceless and enormous amounts of deads etween 1914 and 1918. In 1917 this came to an all time high score when the Germans tried again and again to sweep forward to the Dover Straits. These attacks towards "Ieper" got in German terms the most horrific name. "Verdun" and "The Somme" were bad, "Ieper" was pure hell.
At the end of the cemetry a statue is erected, simulating four soldiers paying their respect to the fallen brothers in arms. The stones surrounding the square mass grave have large bronze plates on them that bare the names of the almost 25.000 dead. The atmosphere is grim, chilling, but equally sad as on the allied cemetries. Here too the little wooden crosses with poppies are found as this cemetry is a standard visit in the "Ieper" tour. On a few of them I read "we will remember all!" which is giving someone like me a firm feeling of hope that we can prevent another "Ieper". Near the bunkers on a far end of the cemetry lay 9.000 very young soldiers. This is called the "student" section as here lay whole classes, schools of cadets that fanatically came to the front in 1914 and were - without any proper training - immediately send into no-man's land in a fierce attack. 3.000 of them are without a name. More in the next tip.
After the first worldwar there were around 678 small cemetries throughout the Flanders regions. Only in Langemark itself there were already 15. In 1920 the belgian warcasual society decided to "gather" all graves and burry them in a few large cemetries. The largest of them is here in Langemark, containing 44.061 fallen soldiers. The cemetry is grim because of the grey and black colours that one kept using for German graves. The wooden crosses of the Germans always had been tarred black and one decided to keep this colourdifference with the allied forces also here in the closing tablets of bronze of the many group and mass graves. Under each stone in the field are a couple of comrades and in the middle section you see a large square with big stones surrounding it. Here 24.917 soldiers are burried together among which 7.977 without name. More in next tip.
German cemetery to remember 44.061 soldiers, 3000 of them were cadets or student volunteers - fallen in October 1914 in a vain attempt to conquer Ypres.
Opposite the entrance of this German cemetery, one sees four mourning soldiers sculptured by Emil Krieger.