Graphic designer and printmaker, Dorrit Dekk (née Dorothea Karoline Fuhrmann) – known as ‘Dorrit’ after her mother’s love of Dickens – was born into an assimilated Jewish family in Brno, Moravia, Austria-Hungary (subsequently Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic) on 18 May 1917. Aged four she moved to Austria with her mother and brother; her father, a textile manufacturer, who remained in Brno, later perished in Auschwitz. She suffered from tuberculosis and spent four years in a Swiss sanatorium. From 1936–38 she studied theatre design at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna until the Anschluss (Nazi annexation of Austria) caused her flight to England with her mother in 1939. A scholarship enabled her to continue her studies at the Reimann School in London, where she switched to display and commercial design. In 1940 she married South African physicist Leonard Klatzow and, following his death in 1942, joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) as a radio intelligence officer.
After the war, adopting the professional name, 'Dekk', she joined the Central Office of Information as a poster designer, leaving in 1948 to spend a year as a stage designer and illustrator in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1950 she established her own design practice in London; influenced by the photomontagist John Heartfield, she frequently used collage in her colourful, playful designs for clients including London Transport, British Rail, the Post Office Savings Bank, Penguin Books and Tatler magazine, while her numerous Air France poster designs and a long professional relationship with the P&O shipping line, earned her the nickname the 'travel queen'. She created the mural British Sports and Games for The Festival of Britain's Land Travelling Exhibition (1951), designed covers for the Workers Educational Association monthly magazine, The Highway, and became a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists in 1956. In 1968 she married Kurt Epstein. After retiring from her design practice in 1982, she concentrated on painting, printmaking and collage, holding four solo exhibitions including at the Clarendon Gallery, London (1984, 1986) and at Duncan Campbell Fine Art, London (2007), also participating in several mixed exhibitions including the Whitechapel Open (1988).
Dorrit Dekk died in London, England in December 2014. In 2019 her work was included in the exhibition 'Czech Routes to Britain' at Ben Uri Gallery. Her work is held in UK public collections including the Ben Uri Collection, the Imperial War Museum, the Jewish Museum London, the Transport Museum, and the V&A.