Never had the mine claimed as many victims in exchange for the coal extracted from its bowels as on 8th August 1956 at the Bois du Cazier.
As a result of human error, a fire rapidly spread to the whole mine. A total of 262 men, of 12 different nationalities (including 136 Italians and 95 Belgians) lost their lives, leaving hundreds of widows and orphans. This resulted in an end to Italian immigration into Belgium and stricter regulations on safety at work.
At the foot of a big mobile fresco depicting the path followed by thousands of immigrant workers who had come to work in the Belgian mines, films, photographs and testimonies relate, day by day and hour by hour, the catastrophe of 8th August 1956, right through to that fateful 23rd August when there came from the mouth of a rescuer the terrible verdict: ‘Tutti cadaveri!’.
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