Monday, April 16, 2007

World Renowned US-Israeli Professor, Liviu Librescu, Killed in Virginia Tech Shooting - Actions Described as Heroic.

The names of the victims have not been officially released, but it has been confirmed that one of the victims in the Virginia Tech shooting was a Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Professor Liviu Librescu of Israel.

In speaking of her father in law, Ayala Librescu said "He has been teaching there for 20 years, and was a senior, world-renowned lecturer. He is the professor with the highest number of publications in the history of Virginia Tech. In the past, he taught at Tel Aviv University and the Technion," she added.

Witnesses described the professors actions as heroic: One of Lebrescu's students, Alec Calhoun said "When students realized the sounds were gunshots, they started flipping over desks for hiding places. Others dashed to the windows of the second-floor classroom, kicking out the screens and jumping from the ledge of the room." Calhoun said that just before he climbed out the window, he turned to look at the professor (Librescu), who had stayed behind to block the door. He was killed by gunshots while attempting to block the gunman's entrance.

Prof Librescu and his wife are both Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel from Romania (ironically, Prof Librescu was murdered on Holocaust memorial day). The Communist regime had tried to prevent him from immigrating and he was fired from his job after refusing to sign a loyalty oath to the communist regime. He was allowed to leave the country only after the Israeli prime minister at the time Menachem Begin personally appealed to then Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. years later, Librescu left for a sabbatical in the United States and has remained here since. His first son, Arieh, lives in Israel, while his other son, Joe, resides in the US. Librescu's colleagues described him as a "true gentleman."

It is truly shocking that such an accomplished man who survived the Nazi holocaust and Communist totalitarianism rose to such prominence in his field (Material Stress), would die in such a senseless way. May he rest in peace and may his family find strength in the face of such a devastating loss.

More First Hand Testimony on the Hero Professor: 'I don't think my teacher got out':

Junior Richard Mallalieu said he and about 20 classmates instantly dropped to the floor, ducking under and behind desks for what sounded like the first 10 shots. Their next move became instantly clear: Get out. Mallalieu said his professor held the door shut while students darted to the windows. Some climbed on desks, ledges and a radiator cover to pull down the screens and kick at the metal-framed glass, Mallalieu said. Three windows easily gave way and swung open on hinges as the gunshots got louder.


UPDATE: Media is reporting that ALL of Professor Liviu Librescu's students survived the attack (by jumping out the window) while Professor Librescu blocked the door to the room with his body giving the students time to escape. He was apparently shot through the door by the gunman.

It's Too Early for 'Healing'

NY Daily News: The Courageous final act of professor Librescu
"Hero" Professor among victims of Virginia Tech massacre
Slain VT Professor Saves Students: Hero & Holocaust Survivor
Lecturer died shielding Virginia Tech students from gunman
Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter
Professor died like a hero by blocking the door to his class
Remembering Liviu Librescu … And Others Like Him
Prof Liviu Librescu among the VaTech murdered
Professor Librescu, sacrifices life for students at Virginia Tech
Liviu Librescu: Hero
77-year old physics professor displayed preternatural courage
Surely, the Righteous do walk among us.
Holocaust Survivor Murdered at Virginia Tech
Liviu Librescu Was Killed While Trying to Save His Students
Wall Street Journal: He Died Saving His Class

UPDATE: President honors professor who died in university shooting:

"With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety. On the day of remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so others may live. We honor his memory, we take strength from his example."

Preseident Bush

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