What to Know
Kurt Salzinger, an 89-year-old psychology professor, and his wife were in NY Penn Oct. 27 when a harried commuter bumped them
Salzinger, who fled the Nazis during WWII, was knocked to the ground; the fall eventually led to his death 12 days later, the NYPD said
His wife and police say it all appears to be an accident, but the grieving widow wants that commuter to come forward
A grieving widow who said goodbye to her husband of 31 years on Sunday is asking the hurried commuter who pushed the couple in a subway station to come forward.
Deanna Chitayat, 85, spoke to NBC 4 New York after attending the funeral for her husband, 89-year-old Kurt Salzinger, a psychology professor who fled the Nazis with his family when his native Austria was invaded during World War II.
The couple was in the 34th Street-Penn Station on Oct. 27 when a rushing commuter bumped into them and knocked Salzinger to the ground, she said.
“Kurt went down like that," Chitayat said, "on the floor. Like a dead person.”
The fall eventually led to Salzinger's death 12 days later, the NYPD confirmed. He had bleeding in the brain, then developed pneumonia.
“The guy came by, bent down took a look at him and jumped into the car," Chitayat said. "And that was the end of him we never saw him again.”
Other straphangers helped Salzinger, but he would not survive.
Salzinger was a professor emeritus at Hofstra University who was the former senior scholar in residence in the school's psychology department, the school said in a statement. According to The New York Times, Salzinger escaped Vienna in 1938 with his father, mother and brother with the help of an underground Jewish network. It took two-and-a-half years, including a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Japan and a boat to Seattle, before they reached New York, the paper reported.
Police said they are investigating the incident as an accident. They looked through surveillance footage but didn't find him.
But the family says he needs to come forward and is asking anyone who saw the push to help identify him.
“I don’t want to put him in jail because I don’t think he deliberately did it. I want him to feel guilt," Chitayat said, "that he killed a wonderful wonderful man.”
Police asked anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.