Life and limb, Monument, Long farewell
Coal production in Saarland came to an end in 2012 after over 250 years. This was a defining moment for Saarland because it was almost impossible to imagine the federal state without the mining industry. The ups and downs of the entire federal state were closely linked to coal. Mining played a major role in the lives of almost all families in Saarland, with either a relative or an ancestor having worked in the industry. The fact that coal mining gave our state its own identity is largely thanks to the people who worked in it: the Saarland miners. They laid the foundations for economic development in Saarland and provided momentum for the 'economic miracle' in Germany with their hard work, influencing our state, its values and its cohesion like no other occupational group. The camaraderie and solidarity among miners was the model for the sense of community among people in Saarland. We are now faced with the task of keeping the memories of the mining industry alive. It is important to preserve the knowledge of the mining roots of our state and to pass this knowledge on, especially to young people. The virtual state exhibition DAS ERBE (the heritage) plays a central role in this culture of remembrance. We want this to highlight the special importance of the period characterised by the mining industry for the current and future Saarland society. The DAS ERBE exhibition focuses on miners, their lives, families and culture, their influence on togetherness in Saarland, and on what remains after the end of coal mining, rather than on machinery and mining towers. The exhibition highlights just how rich and varied the heritage of miners is for our state.
I hope that visitors to the "DAS ERBE" exhibition at the Open Gallery of the Google Cultural Institute in the Saarland State Chancellery learn something new about mining in Saarland and are able to gain a better understanding of work underground.
The firedamp explosions shown in the film sequences are testing demolitions performed to examine this danger. These are gas and coal dust explosions as well as water trough explosions. The demolition of a ventilation structure is also shown. Such tests also helped to significantly improve safety provisions and installations underground in the last couple of decades.
This educational film was used to recruit new miners. It showed the everyday work of a miner with inviting images and underscored by cheerful music. Beginning with the shared ride to work inside the bus of the Saarberg AG, the various working activities inside the mine itself and continuing to joint holiday camps in European countries - this film showed all aspects of a miner's professional life and was designed to invite young people to become a part of this community.