Kalman was born on March 27, 1930 in the city of Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, to his father Shimon and his mother Dora née Finkelstein. As the family was Zionist, he started studying in Schwab’s Hebrew Gymnasium, in which all the studies were in Hebrew.
In 1941-1944, he was in the Kovno Ghetto doing forced labor. He was a member of the underground Eshel youth group, and from March 1944 until the ghetto was burned, he was a member of Irgun Brit Zion. In July 1944, he was loaded on cattle cars together with his family and the remnant of the Jews in the ghetto, to be transported to the death camps. As the train was moving, his father raised him up to the train window, helped him jump out and commanded him: “Be a mensch!” Only years later did he realize the courage and fortitude his father displayed at their fateful parting.
After wandering for a while, he finally made his way to the front lines, and to freedom. A few months later, he began making his way to his next destination: the Land of Israel. This lasted for nine months, until he reached Italy. He was on the very first ship the British allowed to sail after the war, and he finally made it to the homeland.
In 1945 he sat for exams and started studying in the Hebrew Gymnasium of Jerusalem. At the same time, he joined Lehi. At first, he served in the youth division, fulfilling every mission. After he became an instructor, in 1947, he joined the combat brigade.
He took part in raids on Romema, Sheikh Badr and Malha, where they blew up houses. He also took part in operations in Katamon, blowing up Tanus House (which was the command center for the Najjada in Jerusalem), capturing Der Yassin and Notre Dame and fighting in the area. On June 26,1948, Amihai, the Lehi brigade commander, appointed him to command the Avigdor squad. In July 1948, he was injured on the roof of Notre Dame. While he was still in hospital, he officially joined the IDF. He was a regular solider, until he became the academic director of the IDF School for Public Relations and Higher Education. From 1951 to 1957, he studied veterinary sciences.
Since 1957, he has taught as a professor in Hebrew University, teaching physiology, histology and ultrastructure. His research is focused on oncological virology. He has published more than two thousand articles in the field.
In 1985, he established a school for veterinary medicine.
He married Ruth Yahalom, and they had two sons and five grandchildren. One daughter passed away.