Culture, Global, Identity

Professor Liviu Librescu, Romanian holocaust survivor, sacrifices life for students at Virginia Tech

Via JPost:

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 75-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday’s shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 32 dead and over two dozen wounded.
Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter, who had 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 the 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.”

May his memory, and the memories of all those who were tragically taken from this world, be forever a blessing.
Full story.

16 thoughts on “Professor Liviu Librescu, Romanian holocaust survivor, sacrifices life for students at Virginia Tech

  1. Professor Librescu displayed courage that can only be given by God. For his bravery and love for his students we are blessed to have men of his caliber among us in this world. May God bless his family and the families of others murdered and wounded. May God also be with the family of the young man who committed this atrocity, for the dishonor and shame their son has brought upon them. May they all find peace in God’s love.

  2. A very brave act and a very fine man, but wasn’t Yom HaShoah on Sunday? Not to take anything away from the challenges he faced and overcame in his life but I imagine as an engineering professor he would prefer accuracy.

  3. In actuality, while Yom HaShoah should have been on Sunday, its observance was pushed off to Monday in deference to Shabbat. Here in Israel, it was observed beginning Sunday night.
    Baruch Dayan HaEmes

  4. Today, as my mother was driving me home from school, she turned the radio on. The story of the Virgina Tech massacre was being told on the radio. I asked my mother to turn it up so I could listen, and when I heard what that courageous man, Liviu Librescu, had done, tears filled my eyes. When I heard that he was a holocaust survivor, a wept. For a man who had survived such an atrocity as the holocaust to not only go on living and passing on his priceless knowledge but to put his own life at stake to save his students truly touched me. God bless his soul and family, and god be with the family of the young man who committed that act of horrifying barbarism.

  5. Dr.Librescu died as a hero and a great teacher. He reminds me about Yanush Korchak. My great condolences to his family but we all are proud of him!

  6. I don’t know if it’s possible to know if other students were as courageous.
    I don’t know if it’s possible to judge people in the same situation.
    Perhaps it is possible to somehow prepare one’s self to take care of others before taking care of one’s self.
    What made Prof. Librescu ‘stick around’ instead of bolting for the window? If a few other people had the same instinct, could more lives have been saved?
    All rhetorical questions of the human mind, non-judgemental on my part.

  7. We found out that Liviu Librescu was a member of the family relatively recently. The family got split up when my great-grandfather came to the US from Romania. His grandfather and my father’s grandfather were brothers, which means my father and Liviu were 2nd cousins.
    We never met Liviu but we wish we could have. His death was senseless.
    Marc Librescu

  8. Thank God the that the shooter himself was not Jewish. Can you imagine the kind of shandeh that would have resulted if that had been the case?

  9. it’s a ‘shandeh’ (disgrace) enough that the killer was a living being. i can only wish that, for others on this earth struggling with depression and social isolation, they can find help before hurting others or themselves.
    i highly recommend the recent newsweek article on men and untreated depression.

  10. RM, that brings up an interesting subject. Major media outlets are reporting that this incident is seen by Koreans as a major embarrassment. As Jews, maybe we can begin to understand why.
    But, what I don’t understand is the fear that this will somehow trigger a violent backlash against Koreans (in the US or elsewhere). I don’t see how this could approach anything like the anti-Muslim sentiment that followed 9/11. If Koreans were widely known to regularly exhibit a pattern of this sort of behaviour, and committed similar crimes in the name of their homeland, maybe their fears would be somewhat justified. But, in this case I think Americans ought to be given more credit. (and what happened to the little flags, anyway?!)
    Back on topic: I am somewhat surprised and impressed at the coverage of Prof. Librescu’s courageous act and the life which preceded it. CBC in Canada aired a full interview with his son in Israel this evening. I’m not entirely sure why such acts make me proud to be a Jew. But, they do.

  11. As a someone who is half Korean I can testify to the embarrassment this has brought upon Korean communities everywhere, but I fear no backlash. I was horrified enough to know ANYONE could do something such as this, but to discover he was Korean… it was devastating. But he was a child in need of serious help from the only One who can give it– God Almighty. Cho’s fury unleashed against these people is only a reflection of the spiritual state he was allowed to continue to spiral into his entire life. I believe with all my heart he was emotionally neglected and had no self-esteem, which left him vulnerable to evil persuasion and desperate to be known and remembered in some way– ANY way. Korean or not he was lonely, miserable and in need of a major dose of love. The refusal of friendship or to even speak to anyone is a loud cry for help and almost no one noticed enough to care. In high school these are the kind of kids I reached out to because they have the potential to be the most horrible human beings or most amazing people if someone will take the time to care. Again, this is not my opinion because I share the same ethnicity. Race does not matter when it comes to spiritual issues such as this.

  12. Let there be no doubt, no one is responsible for this loser’s actions except the scumbag himself.
    Each person is a product of his environment, but as the torah teaches us, the difference between us humans and the animals is that they react on instinct, and we can think with free will.
    Who knows how many tens of thousands of other kids, students, and adults have similar attitudes to this guy and leave it at that. For some reason, this guy went overboard where virtually all others holdback.
    Really, how is it possible to blame anyone for not preventing this? Who ever thought that this could happen?

  13. Considering the disgusting feeding frenzy the media has been in since the massacre (Wolf Blitzer almost decked a student he had just interviewed, when she started to walk between him and the camera), I have been pleasantly shocked by the respect and dignity that it has shown to this wonderfully heroic man…
    I wish the necrophilia would stop long enough for someone to interview Lt Col. David Grossman, author of “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence. Dr. Grossman is featured prominently in the Iraq Vets Against the War ( )documentary, “The Ground Truth.”

  14. The media reports indicate that many people reached out to Cho Seung-Hui, both to try to befriend him and to get him help; many people also told the administration there was a problem with this individual. I don’t think it can be said that “no one seemed to care.”
    I commend anyone who reaches out to loners and other marginalized folk, but it is important to realize that being introverted does not make you become a mass murderer. People with violent personality disorders (sociopaths and other people with severely impaired conscience) cannot be cured because other people are nice to them. They must be identified and contained, and treated if that is possible. Sadly, the killer probably fell into this category.
    I also want to note my admiration for Prof. Librescu and my sorrow that his remarkable life was cut short in this tragic way. May his memory be a blessing.

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