Human Studies Film Archives

Guide to the Walter Friedrich Knips films, circa 1950s

Collection ID:
Knips, Walter Friedrich, 1911-1994
circa 1950s
Physical Description:
3 Film reels
1,550 feet
16mm and 8mm
Walter Friedrich Knips was a commercial attaché for the German foreign service. He served in Karachi, Pakistan, from 1952 to 1957. The film footage included in this collection covers trips taken by Knips and his family to Hunza, Srinagar, Gilgit, and Nanga Parabat between 1953 and 1955 and family home movies from Pakistan and Houston dating from 1952 to 1960.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Walter Friedrich Knips films contain footage of the Knips family trips to Hunza in April of 1954 and autumn of 1955, a trip to Gilgit and Nanga Parabat in 1953 for the German-Austrian Climbing Expedition, and footage of the family in Karachi and Houston. The Hunza film footage contains depictions of their journey there, the events and people they witnessed while there, and their return home. The family film footage depicts the Knips children at various ages as well as unidentified local events. Some of the family film may date to after their time in Pakistan, perhaps to their time in Houston.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
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.
Sources Consulted
Hamid, Major General Syed Ali. "A German Captive in Wartime India."
The Friday Times
, September 20, 2019.
Hart, Franziska. "Walter F. Knips 1911-1994." Accessed November 19, 2020.
Born in Berlin on March 5
Business/Electro-Technical apprentice at Siemens
Worked at Siemens
Worked at British India office of Siemens
1939 -1941
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
Died in Quebec, Canada

Katherine Christensen
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Walter Friedrich Knips films were donated by his daughter, Franziska Hart.
Processing Information
The first film was assembled from three reels of film and the second and third film were each assembled from two reels of film. Titles for the assembled film reels were supplied by the archivist. Titles for the individual film reels were derived from information on the film cans when the film was digitized.
Descriptions of the film footage were supplied by Franziska Hart.
Processed by HSFA Staff, November 2014
Encoded by Katherine Christensen, November 2020

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Preferred Citation
The Walter Friedrich Knips films, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Related Materials
The HSFA holds excerpts from the journals of Walter Friedrich Knips and his wife, Eva Knips, as translated by their daughter Franziska Hart, which relate to the family trip to Hunza in 1955. Please consult the archivist for more information.

More Information
Further Reading
Further Reading
Bilal, Shah. "The History of Hunza." YouTube, 10:31, accessed October 20, 2020. v=xRZweSmnAhE&list=PLlKlUP7yiEBKwlU_36s10C3oa79Tx3Dt2&index=3
Clark, John.
Hunza, Lost Kingdom of the Himalayas
. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1956.
Douglas, William O.
Beyond the High Himalayas
. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1952.
Leaf, Alexander, M.D. "Every Day is a Gift When You are Over 100."
National Geographic Magazine
, January 1973.
Manchester Education Committee. "Hunza-A Remote Himalayan Community." YouTube, 16:09, accessed October 20, 2020. v=DHFIiio9KhI&index=1&list=PLlKlUP7yiEBKwlU_36s10C3oa79Tx3Dt2
McCarry, John. "High Road to Hunza."
National Geographic Magazine
, March 1994.
Michaud, Sabrina & Roland. "Trek to Lofty Hunza - and Beyond."
National Geographic Magazine
, November 1975.
Rodale, J. L.
The Healthy Hunzas
. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1949.
Shor, Jean & Franc. "At World's End in Hunza."
National Geographic Magazine
, October 1953.
Shor, Jean Bowie.
After You, Marco Polo
. New York, Toronto, London: McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc., 1955.
Taylor, Reneé.
Hunza Health Secrets for Long Life and Happiness
. New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing Inc., 1964.
Tobe, John H.
Hunza, Adventures in a Land of Paradise
. St. Catharines, Ontario: The Provoker Press, 1960.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Pakistan Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hunza (Pakistan) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Polo Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Festivals Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir, India) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanga Parbat (Pakistan) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gilgit District (Pakistan) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
K̲h̲ān, Muhammad Jamāl, Mir of Hunza, 1912-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Human Studies Film Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746