Professor, scholar who survived Nazi invasion dies after push from rushing NYC subway rider

Posted at 12:31 PM, Nov 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-13 13:31:24-05

NEW YORK (RNN) - A New York professor and scholar, who survived the Holocaust by fleeing the Nazis with his family, died after suffering a devastating head injury on a busy subway platform.

On Oct. 27, 89-year-old grandfather Kurt Salzinger and his wife, Deanna Chitayat, were getting off a train and were on their way to shop at Macy’s when a man violently pushed into them as he was rushing to make a train, according to reports.

The force caused the elderly couple to slam onto the ground, resulting in a head injury that caused bleeding on Salzinger’s brain.

Salzinger would later lay comatose in the hospital where he developed pneumonia. He died of the illness 12 days after the incident.

“He died because of that guy,” said Chitayat. “I don’t think he meant to kill him, but he killed him.”

In 1938, at 12 years old, Salzinger and his family escaped the Nazi invasion and settled in New York. Although he spoke little English at age 12, Salzinger went on to study at NYU and Columbia, where he received his doctorate in 1954.

Hofstra University tweeted its condolences to Salzinger who was a professor emeritus of psychology at the University. He also wrote 200 scholarly articles and 14 books throughout his professional career.

Salzinger was “a loving father and husband, a brilliant and prolific scholar, a talented leader, and an inveterate punster, he will be profoundly missed,” his obituary read.

Many of Salzinger’s life-long accomplishments were detailed within his obituary.

“As a committed behaviorist, Dr. Salzinger held positions at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Poly-technic University, the National Science Foundation, the American Psychological Association (APA), and Hofstra University,” the obituary said. “He was president of the New York Academy of Sciences, where he initiated dialog with the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He was executive director of science at the APA, among other roles, as well as president of the Association of Behavior Analysis and the Eastern Psychological Association.”

The NYPD is asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident for help in locating the man who they say pushed Salzinger.

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