Angelika (Fick) Hoerle • 1899 ~ 1923
Fate and the Three Angelikas
On a recent trip to Cologne I was fortunate enough to visit with the 89 year old Johannes Raederscheidt, whose father and mother were sheltering angels to my great-aunt Angelika Hoerle. In the early 1920s when Angelika’s husband Heinrich and fair weather friends abandonned Angelika because she had tuberculois, Marta and Anton Raederscheidt stuck by her. Their companionship represented the same act of heroism as that demonstrated by those who continued to caress victims of AIDS at a time when fear-mongering made these individuals untouchables.
Johannes Raederscheidt, although only five years old when Angelika died over 80 years before, remembered the tall, thin, impressive young woman who had been his mother’s best friend. To commemorate the deep bond he knew that his mother Marta felt for her friend, he named his last child, Marta-Angelika.
Marta-Angelika Raederscheidt already as a young woman knew that her destiny was to be an artist. Incredibly enough, not even decades after her namesakes' pioneering in the art world, was art an acceptable vocation for a young woman. Marta-Angelika escaped to the peace of the Westfriedhof in Cologne to sketch. Eventually she struggled to build a successful career as an artist.
A continent away in Canada, a young woman named Angelika, began the search for her namesake. That decades-long search in the summer of 2007 led Angelika Littlefield nee Eggert to Johannes Raederscheidt and through him to Marta-Angelika, MAF Raederscheidt.
I cannot capture the depth of emotions unleashed by my visit with Johannes Raederscheidt. He was waiting for me outside his apartment, formally dressed, excited as a young man waiting for his first date. I was escorted inside with full formalities and offered coffee and cookies in good German fashion. Johannes, who had had a stroke, wanted to speak in English and I soldiered on in my broken German. The German/English smorgasboard that followed could never be reproduced. Languages flowed as they were needed. I don't know in what language our hearts met.
When it was time to go, and after he had hooked me up with his daughter Marta-Angelika, he walked me to the tram. I felt guilty walking away from his building with an 89 year old stroke victim but Johannes wanted to go with me. He held my hand at the tram stop, as I know his mother would have, to say good-bye.
Days later I met with Johannes' Marta Angelika. When she heard that I was off to visit Angelika's original grave, she studied the map of the Westfriedhof and ran off to her studio. Unbeknownst to her, she had been drawn to the area of Angelika's grave as a young woman and she'd done studies there. Angelika Hoerle had drawn Marta-Angelika to her in the same way as Angelika Littlefield was drawn to her.
The three Angelikas are Angelika Hoerle, Marta-Angelika Raederscheidt and Angelika Littlefield. Through us, Angelika Hoerle lives again.
Angelika Hoerle links