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Parallel Tracks to Germany

During World War I, many American "Doughboys" traveled the front in French railcars displaying the notice that each car could carry 40 men or eight horses. Therefore, they quickly became known as "forty and eight" railcars. In World War II, "forty and eights" again transported supplies and troops to the front, but they also carried new cargoes. Millions of Holocaust victims were herded into similar railcars on their way to concentration camps. Many Allied prisoners of war (POW) rode to German POW camps in them -- sometimes with as many as 90 men forced into each car. "Forty and eight" railcars carried 168 Allied POWs from Paris to the Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1944.

In 2001 the French Railroad Co. (SNCF) donated this restored railcar to the museum. It now serves as a permanent reminder of the hardships and the sacrifice endured by so many in the cause of liberty.

Click here to return to the Holocaust Exhibit Overview.


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Related Fact Sheets
French "Forty and Eight" Railroad Car
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