Upper West Sider Who Escaped Nazis Dies After Being Knocked Over in Subway Station

Kurt Salzinger, an 89-year-old Upper West Sider, died on Thursday after being knocked over in the Penn Station subway station on Oct. 27. We had reported about his injuries in our Monday bulletin after a friend asked us to help find information.

On Saturday, the New York Post reported on Salzinger’s death and the search for the man who knocked over Salzinger and his wife Dr. Deanna Chitayat. Police continue looking for the man, who Chitayat described as slim and athletic-looking. The man saw Salzinger fall and lay there motionless but still got on the train, Chitayat told the Post. A nurse and others helped him, but Salzinger fell into a coma and developed pneumonia.

Salzinger’s family escaped Austria in 1938 just after the Nazis marched in, before traveling across the trans Siberian railroad to Japan and then making it to Seattle. They moved to New York and Salzinger — who hadn’t spoken English when he arrived — made it into Bronx Science High School just two years later.

He got his doctorate from Columbia University and became a psychology professor, writing 14 books. He taught at Columbia, City College, Hofstra and other universities, according to a remembrance from Hofstra.

Professor of Psychology Mitchell Schare called Dr. Salzinger “a powerful force in the world of Behavioral Analysis. Lunch was always more fun when Kurt was around; simple discussions became theoretical debates with universal implications.”

Services will be held at Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan (180 W 76th Street) on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at noon.

Anyone with information should call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS or 1-888-57-PISTA for Spanish.

NEWS | 13 comments | permalink
    1. Jane says:

      “Slim and athletic-looking”?

      How odd that they couldn’t think of one very obvious identifier…

      • ellen says:

        Of the couple, only Deanna was a witness (no “they”). Other stories say she only wants the person responsible to know what happened. Sounds like she won’t even press charges, no vindictive — to say the least. If she didn’t I.D. by race, I’m not surprised.

      • Sid says:

        And what identifier would that be, Jane? Is it race?

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      I do not allow my mother to take the subway for exactly this reason. Once you’re a senior citizen, a fall could mean you die.

      • Jen says:

        We are all happy that you care about your mother. But could you for once feel something for other people?

    3. Ellen says:

      My profound sympathies to Deanna Chitayat and others close to the couple. Clearly, Kurt Salzinger will be sorely missed by anyone who who knew him.
      I’m hopeful that Midtown detectives will apply all their expertise to this case for a proper result.
      Ellen
      (Science graduate)

    4. Yael says:

      Find the man responsible for this!!

    5. Jen says:

      This is very sad. This person needs to be brought to justice. And it would be a good idea to make an example of him to prevent future tragedies and just try to live in a civilized society.

    6. dannyboy says:

      The NYT reporting that: “Dr. Salzinger’s death was a tragic end to the everyday jostle of straphangers who often move about the city elbow to elbow.” normalized a very abnormal act.

      More like The Law of the Jungle than “the everyday jostle of straphangers who often move about the city elbow to elbow”.

    7. B.W. says:

      Heartbreaking! How can be people be so cruel?!!

    8. Weep For Our Nation ! says:

      The NYT story about Dr. Salzinger’s death also said that Salzinger, who personally witnessed the rise of the Nazis in his native Austria, often spoke-out”…against the rise of far-right politics in the United States and corporate dominance of American life.

      “He felt that there were some parallels to what was happening today and he was very angry about it — that it was reminiscent of the rise of fascism,”….

      Dr. Salzinger’s perceptive analysis should be repeated as we watch in horror the unfolding of a slow-moving fascist coup led by what Maureen Dowd has called “a tin-pot Dictator”.

    9. B flat says:

      A guy rushing to catch the train knocks over an elderly man who then died. It’s so heartbreaking, but it was still an accident. The poor man wasn’t attacked, and there wasn’t a crime committed. Calm down armchair vigilantes.

      • dannyboy says:

        I don’t agree that this is all O.K.

        Perhaps you believe that knocking down an elderly couple and running away is just fine.

        But that’s you.