60e année après la catastrophe du bois du Cazier

Rappelons que 262 mineurs sont décédés dans la catastrophe, principalement des travailleurs italiens venus dans le cadre des accords entre la Belgique et l’Italie mais des belges, anglais, polonais, allemands se sont aussi retrouvés pris au piège de la mine. Dans une angoisse grandissante, mais avec professionalisme, les hommes du charbon se sont attelés à des opérations de sauvetage mais hélas, c’est un  » Tutti cadaveri » que les courageux sauveteurs ont retrouvé au fond…

Le site du bois du cazier accueille actuellement un musée pour, non seulement se souvenir des victimes de cette catastrophe minière mais également s’instruire sur ce que représentait le travail dans les mines en Belgique, et plus particulièrement dans le Borinage. Un must si vos ancêtres exerçaient ce dur labeur !


8th of August 1956

« Tutti Cadaveri » . It’s with those italian words ( all corpses) that the rescuers came back from the Bois du Cazier Mine on the 23d of August 1956 following a a cascade of technical failures in  the Mine. 232 miners from 12 countries were killed, injured and only 13 workers survived the ordeal.


There had been a long history of fatal accidents in Belgium mines before but the importance of this one, the number of foreign death ( 136 of were italian, 8 Polish, Six were Greeks, One British, One German, One Dutch,One Russian and One Ukranian for 95 Belgian) combined with the fact that the victims weren’t found immediately and the extended coverage by newspapers and television contributed to make it an international drama. The events are pretty well explained in this link  ( Flash Player Required) http://www.leboisducazier.be/lg_fr/esp_8aout/play.htm

An official commission investigated on the case to come to the conclusion that a combination of material as well as human failures were the sad causes of the explosion that led to the loss of lives of so many*.

The Bois du Cazier s now a memorial, important to remember but also very interesting to learn more about what happened on that fateful day and what could have been done in the mining world at the time to extend safety measures that weren’t then and that could have saved lives. Do you have any relatives who witnessed or lost a loved one in the catastrophe? Do you have other mining stories in your family history? If so,I’ll be really happy to hear from you!

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  • The list of names and nationalities of the victims is to be found here http://www.charleroi-decouverte.be/index.php?id=301