John Hans Less, 87, of Maplewood, a 50-year resident of Millburn, died Aug. 19, 2011. Born in Berlin, he fled from Nazi Germany in September 1940, travelling via the Trans-Siberian Railway and by boat to Shanghai, China. There, he survived World War II in the Jewish ghetto established by the Japanese, immigrating to the United States in 1947.
From early childhood, Mr. Less was interested in graphic arts. He studied art privately before leaving Berlin and, despite stateless refugee status and wartime conditions, found work as a commercial artist for advertising studios in Shanghai, where he also designed stage settings and exhibited his artwork.
Employed by the U.S. Army before leaving Shanghai, he became a designer for newspaper advertising at Bamberger’s in Newark shortly after arriving in the United States. He retired from Bamberger’s in 1982 as vice president and creative director for graphics and broadcasting. Mr. Less continued to pursue his own commercial advertising business, but increasingly concentrated on painting, participating in many fine arts shows and receiving numerous awards.
He is survived by his wife, Miriam (Maier); his son, Steven Less of Heidelberg, Germany; his daughter, Deborah Less of Skaneateles, NY; and grandchildren.
Services were held Aug. 22 with arrangements by Menorah Chapels at Millburn, Union. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee ( http://jdc.org/help-jdc/donate.aspx ).