Hans Jürgen Press

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Hans Jürgen Press (1926–2002) was a German illustrator and writer of children's books. Many of his books contain stories and puzzles in which the reader searches the illustrations for clues to the mystery.

During World War II the young artist and writer was captured in France; he was transported to Marseille, where he was shipped to Oran. After 3 or 4 days he was transported to the United States. Press was trained as an unarmed sail plane glider pilot. He moved to Hamburg in 1945 and attended the Hochschule für Bildende Künste. While a prisoner of war at Ft. D.A. Russell in Texas, he painted detailed murals of far West Texas mountain scenes at Building 98 in Marfa, Texas. The murals are on the National Register of Historic Places. He departed Marfa, Texas, in 1945 while there he created two west Texas watercolors of local residents one performing a Spanish dance and another playing the Spanish guitar.[1][2]

In 1953 he began to illustrate for "sternchen", the children's supplement of German magazine stern. He invented "Der kleine Herr Jakob", a little man with moustache and bowler hat who never talked but whose comic strips were commented in verse. The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang was a combination of story and illustration which appeared in weekly chapters, the solution to this week's riddle was given the next week.

Press was one of the inventors of the "Wimmelbild", a genre of illustration deliberately overcrowded with detail, to please children on their search for a certain item. He also wrote and illustrated books about science and numerous puzzle and play books for children.

His son, Julian Press, is also an author and illustrator.



  1. ^ National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  2. ^ The International Woman's Foundation Marfa, Texas

External links[edit]

Games Based On H.J.Press' Books[edit]

A freeware "The Adventures Of The Black Hand Gang" interactive e-book game including every story is available at:

This game allows you to read the entire adventures of the gang while participating via your mouse to help solve the puzzles on each page. The game was created with the sole purpose to perpetuate the genius of H.J.Press and empower young readers to seek adventure in every aspect of their lives.