There are no word to describe the horrible tragedy that was yesterday's shooting at Virginia Tech. We all feel for the families of the thirty-two dead and pray for their comfort as well as for the recovery of the countless injured from this senseless. Usually when there is a tragedy of this proportion you can find a hero within the account and Professor Liviu Librescu is one of those heroes.
Professor Librescu is a seventy-five year old survivor of the Shoah moved to Israel 30 years ago, and had taken up the position in Virginia in 1986. Librescu's wife, Marlena, told the NRG Web site that her husband had loved his job with "all his heart and his soul."
He was teaching an engineering class on Yom HaShoah when the shooting spree began. When the crazed killer tried to enter his classroom the Professor threw himself between the shooter and the class, keeping him out of the room. and screamed for the students to get out.
His son Joe Librescu, who lives in Israel, said: "My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee."And in an interview with Israeli Army Radio, one of Librescu's students, Asael Arad, said: "All the students lived - because of him."
"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.