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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Israeli Professor And Holocaust Survivor Among Those Killed in VTech Massacre

Professor Liviu Librescu wasn't just an educator, he was a hero. An Israeli and Holocaust survivor, Librescu taught Engineering Science & Mechanics and was renowned for his advancements in aeronautical engineering. He was killed while trying to protect and save his students. He tried to keep the class-room door closed as the gunman shot his way into the class-room. As the gunman, a VTech student Cho Seung-Hui, cocked his gun to start shooting the students, Librescu threw himself in front of the gun and was shot and killed as he gave his students precious time to escape through the second story windows.

What a selfless heroic act. I don't even know what to say. I think we should all take a moment of silence today to reflect and give honor and remembrance to those that were senselessly slaughtered yesterday.
Baruch Dayin He'Emet.
Israeli professor killed in US attack

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived - because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad - also an Israeli - told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.
"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

Librescu was respected in his field, his son said.

"His work was his life in a sense," said Joe. "That was a good place for him to practice his research."

Librescu was sent to a labor camp in Russia as a child and saved by the townspeople. His father was deported by the Nazis.

As a scientist working under Nicolae Ceaucescu's oppressive regime, Librescu was forbidden to have any contact with sources outside Romania. He defied the ban, continuing to publish scientific articles secretly.

His Zionist affinities eventually caused him to be forced out of his job. In 1978, the Librescus emigrated from Romania to Israel, where they raised two sons. In 1986, the family moved to Virginia for Librescu's sabbatical. While they only planned to stay in the United States a year, but have lived there ever since.

Librescu's second son, Arie, told The Jerusalem Post that his father had served as an "ambassador" for Israel in a community with many Muslim residents, but few Israelis.

The Foreign Ministry has taken charge of flying Librescu's body back to Israel. The funeral is expected to take place in Ra'anana on Thursday, although that date has not been confirmed.

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At 11:18 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Many Holocaust survivors spend their lives wracked with guilt, wondering why they lived, but not someone else.

For Prof Librescu, now we know...

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Lady-Light said...

My son in H------ in Israel called to tell me about this; he was so incensed, he was seething that this atrocity should happen a second time to this brave Jew, who had suffered enough in his life. This world needs Tikkun from the inside out.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

Olah: I wanted to post about this but was out with my mom who's visiting. What an amazing man! When I think about it, I couldn't have accomplished half the things he did.


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