Walter Friedrich Knips was born in Berlin on March 5, 1911. He was unable to attend university and took a business/electro-technical apprenticeship at Siemens in 1931. At the end of his apprenticeship, he was hired by Siemens and worked for them for two years before being transferred to their British India location in 1936. When England declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland in 1939, all German nationals living in India, including Knips, were taken into internment camps. Knips was interned at Ahmendnagar (1929-1941), Deolali (1941-1942), and Dehra Dun (1941-1942). In the internment camps, Knips volunteered to help the dentist and was employed to assist in the camp hospital. When the internees were released two years after the end of the war, few were permitted to remain in India, and Knips returned to Germany, where he met his wife, Eva Burhenne. He worked as a salesman for Zellstoff Fabrik Waldhof, a Wiesbaden based pulp and paper company, for two years. Then, in 1952, his daughter Franziska was born, and he was hired by the German foreign service to take a position at the new embassy in Karachi, Pakistan, due to his knowledge of and desire to return to the region.
Knips was a commercial attaché for the German foreign service from 1952 to 1976. He served in Karachi from 1952 to 1957; he was fluent in Urdu and served as a negotiator and translator. He met Mir Muhammad Jamal Khan (1912-1976), the last Ismaili ruler of the State of Hunza, in 1953 while serving as a facilitator for the German-Austrian Nanga Parbat Climbing Expedition. The Mir invited Knips to visit him in the Hunza Valley, which he did with his wife in 1954 and his wife and daughter, Franziska, in 1955. Their friendship continued after Knips' departure from Pakistan in February 1957.
Knips continued to work for the German foreign service until his retirement in 1976, while serving in Montreal. He was posted in Houston, Texas, from 1957 to 1961 and in Montreal, Canada, from 1961 to 1976. He remained in Canada until his death in 1994.
Hamid, Major General Syed Ali. "A German Captive in Wartime India."
The Friday Times
, September 20, 2019. https://www.thefridaytimes.com/a-german-captive-in-wartime-india/
Hart, Franziska. "Walter F. Knips 1911-1994." Accessed November 19, 2020. http://www.gaebler.info/Walter_Knips.pdf
Born in Berlin on March 5
Business/Electro-Technical apprentice at Siemens
Worked at British India office of Siemens
Interned by British forces at Ahmednagar
Interned by British forces at Deolali
Interned by British forces at Dehra Dun
Married Eva Burhenne on October 30
Worked for Zellstoff Fabrik Waldhof
Commercial attaché for the German foreign service in Karachi, Pakistan
Served as a facilitator for the German-Austrian Nanga Parbat Climbing Expedition
First trip to Hunza (with Eva)
Second trip to Hunza (with Eva and Franziska)
Commercial attaché for the German foreign service in Houston, Texas
Commercial attaché for the German foreign service in Montreal, Quebec