As part of the meticulously planned Nazi killing mechanis, trains hauling cattle cars crammed full of Jewish men, women and children deportation victims regularly crossed the European continent towards their deadly destinations. Many of these Holocaust victims perished in these death traps without food, water or sanitation.
For Abigail the terrible deaths of these victims cannot be final. In her vision their naked bodies, assisted by a rescuing angel figure, rise in spiritual form through clouds of smoke into the heavens and into the presence of the Shekhinah, who gathers them up as Her children and weeps for them. Above them the dual countenances of the All-Seeing watches the catastrophe and two eagles, symbols of awareness and anguish, plunge downward towards the wagon, which is marked: “Deutsche Reich-sbahn 11689”. Abigail is seated in the foreground at her easel, beneath a dove representing the part of the psyche that is directed inwards, where she is painting the rescuing angel. This is an invocation. She is watched over by two South African birds perched on protea flowers. On the left, an orange breasted sunbird gazes at the artist and on the right a Cape sugarbird faces her. Various of van Erkelens’ marionette-puppets are dotted about the work as spectators. The painting repeats the theme that the Holocaust was not final, and is an injunction to capture its memory and never forget.