Born in Berlin in 1922, Helmut Kallmann lost his mother, father, and sister in the Holocaust. He was sent to England on the Kindertransport and later to Canada, where he was interned as an enemy alien from 1940 to 1943. After graduating from university with a B.Mus., Kallmann worked from 1950 to 1970 at the CBC Toronto Music Library. In 1970 he was appointed chief of the newly created music division of the National Library, where he developed the plan for the collection and preservation of musical Canadiana and curated several exhibitions. In retirement he produced a newsletter for those who were interned with him in Canada, and assisted the Berlin government with exhibitions documenting the lives of Jewish residents in his childhood neighbourhood. He received the Order of Canada in 1977.