Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Teacher A Hero At Virginia Tech

The man pictured here along with his wife was a survivor of the Holocaust. Yesterday, he again proved himself a hero.
From Fox News, via The Freedom Fighter's Journal blog:
JERUSALEM — A 76-year-old professor who survived the Holocaust was shot to death while saving his students from the Virginia Tech assailant, students said.

Liviu Librescu, an internationally respected aeronautics engineer who taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years, saved the lives of several students by barricading his classroom door before he was gunned down in the massacre, according to e-mail accounts sent by students to his wife.


"He should be recognized as a hero," Virginia Tech graduate student Philip Huffstetler said. "We should be in such great debt to his family for the rest of our lives."

"He is the reason that the student could not get inside and shoot more people," said Asal Arad, a Virginia Tech student. "Obviously, he is a hero."

Librescu had known hardship since childhood.

When Romania joined forces with Nazi Germany in World War II, he was first interned in a labor camp in Transnistria and then deported along with his family and thousands of other Jews to a central ghetto in the city of Focsani, his son said. According to a report compiled by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were killed by Romania's Nazi-allied regime during the war.

As a successful engineer under the postwar Communist government, Librescu found work at Romania's aerospace agency. But his career was stymied in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the regime, his son said, and he was later fired when he requested permission to move to Israel.

After years of government refusal, according to his son, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervened to get the family an emigration permit. They moved to Israel in 1978.

Librescu left Israel for Virginia in 1985 for a sabbatical year, but eventually made the move permanent, said Joe Librescu, who himself studied at Virginia Tech from 1989 to 1994....
Liviu Librescu — a teacher and a hero. As the media focus right now on the killer of thirty-two students at Virginia Tech, may we remember Librescu.

And say a special prayer for the bereaved family and friends of those murdered yesterday at one of Virginia's finest universities — indeed, for the entire student body and faculty. My cousin's stepdaughter Rachel would've been at Tech yesterday except for the necessity of going to Iowa for her grandfather's funeral.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/17/2007 10:01:00 PM