NEW YORK CITY– A man who was rescued from the Nazis as a child was reunited with one of his rescuers on Wednesday, provoking him to commit an act of violence. Through the work of Manhattan’s Jewish Heritage Center, seventy-year-old Roger Spiegel was reunited with Terrence Hammond, the man who Spiegel claims is “responsible for all of my misery.”
On November 8, 1941, the Germans ordered the establishment of a ghetto in Lvov, Poland (now part of Ukraine), Spiegel’s hometown. Spiegel, who at the time was only eight years old, fled the area, eventually taking residence with Hammond’s family just across the border. Hammond, who was twelve at the time, remembers Spiegel as being “a really great kid.” “He was scared, and therefore, kind of quiet. But he was a really nice, appreciative child.” He then added, “Obviously, people change.”
They do indeed. Upon being reunited at JFK International Airport, Hammond attempted to hug Spiegel. But Spiegel ignored Hammond’s hug, opting instead to kick him in the testicles. Hammond fell to the floor, and Spiegel proceeded to punch the fallen Hammond repeatedly in the face until airport security guards finally managed to separate them. Later, while Spiegel was being questioned by the police, he explained his motivation for attacking Hammond. “For decades, I’ve worked dead end job after dead end job, just barely managing to scrape by. I was married twice. With my first wife, two months after we got married, I found out that she was having an affair with my brother.” Spiegel eventually remarried, but his second wife died of cancer five years later. “We had a child,” said Spiegel. “A boy. But when he was seven, he was struck by a car and killed.” Spiegel turned to alcohol to help ease the pain, and formed an addiction. “And then, back in 1989, my home was destroyed by an earthquake.” In addition to all of these heart breaking incidents, Spiegel has broken fourteen bones, and he has been in eleven car accidents. In February, his sister, Ethel, was killed in a helicopter crash near Vancouver. “I wouldn’t have had to live through all this shit if that prick hadn’t saved me from the Nazis,” said a bitter Spiegel.
Hammond feels bad for Spiegel, but he insists that, at the time, he and his family were convinced that they were doing the right thing. “When we hid him in our home, we were risking our lives,” he said. “You would think that that ungrateful bastard would at least acknowledge that!”
But Spiegel insists that he owes nothing to Hammond. “From what I understand, Hammond went on to become a cardiologist,” said Spiegel. “He had money, he traveled the world, he raised a healthy family. Of course he thinks that life is some sort of beautiful gift that needs to be saved. Well, I’m living proof that it’s not!”
Spiegel has been charged with aggravated assault. A trial date has been set for December 28.