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To the Editor:

My sister Rebecca Lahmann and I are the daughters of the artists who originally created the mural at Owen Sound District Secondary School in 1960, Karl and Lauretta Rix.

mural1We were overjoyed to read about the restoration and addition to the mural in your September 25, 2018 edition. We well remember the time when Karl and Lauretta were working on the mural for the school and spread the enamel tiles out on our living room floor to dry. While no one was in the room, our cat calmly walked over the still wet panels, leaving her paw prints all over them. Our father had to re-do all the damaged tiles and, although he was an extremely gentle and even-tempered person, we children were afraid for our cat's life!

However, as much as we appreciated reading about the respect and attention the mural is once again receiving, your contributor got several facts about our parents' lives wrong.

Karl Rix was born in 1912 in Vienna, Austria. Because he came from a Jewish family and had been involved in left-wing politics, he was forced to flee the country in 1938 when Nazi Germany occupied Austria. With the help of the Quakers he was able to escape to Britain. There, like many German and Austrian refugees, Karl was interned as an enemy alien and sent by ship to Canada. Once it had been established that he was a bonafide anti-fascist, he was released and joined the Canadian Army.
However, no sooner had he completed basic training, than the war ended.

After the war Karl decided to remain in Canada and take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Canadian government to all demobilized soldiers to continue his education. He attended art school in Montreal where he met my mother, Lauretta Spector, born 1926, a fellow student.
They married in 1947 and from that time on worked closely together as an artistic duo.

After moving to Toronto in the early 1950s and creating many works of art for both private homes and public buildings, they made a artists2
life-changing decision in 1965 to leave Canada with their two daughters, then 15 and 10 years old, and emigrate to East Germany. They had several motives for this move, mainly the wish to live in a socialist country.
They also hoped they would have a more secure financial basis for their artwork there. During their lives in East Germany they mainly worked as graphic artists, illustrating children's books among other things.

Karl died in 1989 just before the Berlin Wall fell and Lauretta passed away many years later in 2009.

We would appreciate if you could publish this letter so the true story of our parents will be kept alive in Owen Sound.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Simon,

Berlin


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