A Jewish student at Michigan State University said he was assaulted at an off-campus party on Sunday because of his religion.
Zach Tennen, 19, who suffered a broken jaw, told police his attackers asked him if he was Jewish before beating him and stapling his mouth shut through his gums. He told WDIV-TV in Detroit that his attackers also "were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK."
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Tennen, a journalism sophomore, was recovering at home in Oakland County Tuesday after undergoing surgery overnight for a broken jaw.
He said two men at the party approached him and asked if he was Jewish. When he said he was, they raised their arms in a Nazi salute, chanted "Heil Hitler" and then knocked Tennen unconscious.
Tennen at hospital
Tina Tennen, the victim's mother, said that while her son was out the men stapled his mouth, putting a staple into his gums while about 20 people watched.
Zach told police the two men then "stapled me in the back side of my bottom teeth, starting in my gums and going upwards," his father Bruce Tennen read Tuesday from his son's statement to East Lansing Police.
Zachary told his parents no one at the party helped him as he was attacked then thrown out of the gathering. He took a cab to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing for initial treatment, but underwent surgery in metro Detroit overnight to have his jaw wired shut, his mother said.
"I'm really, really upset in a few ways," Zach told MSU's website before his surgery. "First of all it is a terrible experience, physically and also mentally to know someone would do something like this.
"It almost seemed like they tried to kill me, and to think about that in my brain, physically — it isn't very pleasant," he said.
Bruce Tennen said he's working with the Anti-Defamation League to make sure the two men are found and prosecuted. He said he'll support an investigation by the FBI if local police do not make an arrest.
"I will do everything in my power to see that the assailants are located, A, and B, arraigned, jailed and prosecuted," Tennen said.
"I want them to pay for what they did. I want them to understand the ramifications of what they did as opposed to walking away and laugh and say you blanking Jew. And if it has to take a court of law to do it, they have to be prosecuted. He was an innocent victim."
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