Biedaszyby of Walbrzych

Walbrzych, Poland

The woods of Walbrzych are drawn through Biedaszyby, the "drifts of the poor", how the self digged holes for coal mining are called. The people started this activity in the 90s when the compensation for miners has been exhausted and chances for a legal job rarely existed in this region close to the border of Czech Republic. The big coal mines have been shut down one after the other and 15.000 people have been unemployed overnight. In this time of need the miners produce the coal illegally. Reminiscent of the 17. century, tunnels are driven into the soil with only a pick axe, a shovel and sometimes even barehanded.