Transparency 1939-1945


The SNCF Group’s Archives and Documentation Department puts all its documents from the period 1939-1945 online, in compliance with the deadlines for public archive communication provided by the Heritage Code.

The importance of the resources and the variety of their themes justified the digitization of the SNCF archives of the period 1939-1945, in order to respond both to a concern for transparency and to the desire to ensure the material safeguarding of these fragile archives. This concerns the totality of the war archives, and all the files relating to actions not related to the world conflict- but which took place between 1939 and 1945. Major themes stand out: relations with the occupier, the functioning of the company during the conflict, regulatory texts drafted, and decisions taken by the Board of Directors between 1939 and 1945.

To consult these archival documents, two online search methods are possible:

  • A guided search, by consulting the Research Guide, provides a description of the SNCF archive repository for the period 1939-1945. In order to respect the principles of archiving, it was necessary to redefine the correct origins of the files. To facilitate research, the archives have been classified by company department and organized into eighteen entries. We therefore invite the reader to refer to the appendices of the guide, which present the organization of the SNCF from its creation up to 1945. All the diagrams and organization charts enable you to follow the evolution of the departments mentioned.
  • A keyword search in the historical archives database 39-45.

Search in the historical archives database 39-45 (in French)

The digitized archives are accessible via hyperlinks, from the descriptive detail of each file.

On the other hand, the archives do not include the lists of deported persons, which can be consulted on the Holocaust Memorial website.

What can be found in this extensive archive collection?

The 110 deposits from the 1939-1945 period, referenced on this site, have undergone in-depth archival processing and are easily accessible. You can access the archives of the General Directorate Services, the Central Services archives, the archives of the five Regions of SNCF (deposits from the services of the Regional Directorates, Districts, and Facilities), the regulatory texts related to the organization of SNCF, and a rich documentary collection.

To assist you, we invite you to consult the 1939-1945 guide available on the homepage under the “1939-1945 Theme” section. There, you’ll find information about the various services and the content of the deposited archives.

Access Procedures

Accessibility of the Archives

The SNCF archives are considered public records and are governed by the law of July 15, 2008, as reiterated in Book II of the Heritage Code.

Unless otherwise noted, all archives from the 1939-1945 period are freely accessible, in compliance with the applicable communication timeframes, to ensure complete transparency.

However, due to their fragility and for ease of handling, some documents are only available in electronic format.


Certain files containing personal data, as well as those related to railway accidents, are exceptions when it comes to free access. Nevertheless, they may still be subject to a derogatory consultation before the expiration of the time limit. The process for obtaining a derogation should be initiated with the National Center for Historical Archives. It is subject to the Interministerial Service of Archives of France (SIAF), which decides after obtaining consent from the authority responsible for the deposit or archival preservation.