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The unconventional years.
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- Kelp, Robert Julius
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Name of creator
Robert Julius Kelp was born in Hamburg (Germany) in 1926 to Karl and Katherine (Kruse) Kelp.
In 1944, Kelp joined the Luftwaffe (the aerial-warfare branch of the German armed forces or Wehrmacht) where he served as a paratrooper on the Western Front, primarily in Belgium and the Netherlands.
During his time as a member of the Wehrmacht, Kelp was injured and spent time in a hospital and visiting family. He returned to the front and was captured by the British forces in the winter of 1945. From 1945 to 1948, Kelp was a prisoner of war and was transferred to different prisoner-of-war camps, ending in France where he was assigned to work removing landmines in Normandy and working on several farms in the area. In 1946, Kelp and his colleagues tried to escape to Germany and ended up in the Cherche-Midi prison in Paris. In November 1948, Kelp returned to Hamburg with his family, where he trained and worked as a tool and die maker.
In 1958, Kelp emigrated to Toronto where he worked with Frank Stronach (founder of Magna International). In 1963, he was joined in Canada by his girlfriend Gitta Hartmann (1932-2018) whom he married soon after and with whom he had two children. The family soon moved to Kitchener-Waterloo for work-related reasons. In 1967, Kelp became a Canadian citizen.
Robert Julius Kelp died in 2013, aged 87.
Scope and content
Printed copy of Robert Julius Kelp's autobiography titled The unconventional years: a prisoner of War chronicle. Autobiography includes an introduction by Kelp and a narration of Kelp's years in the Luftwaffe (1944-1945) and in different British and French prisoner camps (1945-1948) with photocopies of photographs, correspondence, and official reports from those years. Also contains a biographical note on Kelp.
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Donated in 2019.
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Described by CGD in 2022.
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