Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Slain Israeli Professor Saved Others in Va. Tech Massacre

by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) As Israel observed Holocaust Day, thousands of miles away, A
Rumanian-born Holocaust survivor gave his life in another senseless murder -
and apparently in an act of heroism.

Among the 32 people killed by a lone gunman at Virginia Tech Monday is
77-year-old engineering professor, Liviu Librescu
http://www.esm.vt.edu/php/person.php?id=10023 , a citizen of Israel. According
to eyewitness accounts, Librescu ran to the door of his classroom and blocked
it with his body - preventing the gunman from entering but getting shot to
death himself as a result.

Alec Calhoun, a 20-year-old student who had been in Librescu's class in room
204, told a reporter that at 9:05 a.m. the heard screams and a loud banging
sound from the next-door classroom. When the students realized it was gunfire,
he said, some hid behind tables, and others leapt from the classroom's
windows. Calhoun himself was among the last to jump. "Before I jumped from the
window, I turned
around and looked at the professor, who stayed behind, maybe to block the
door. He had been killed."

Librescu is survived by his wife of 42 years, Marlena, who was with him in
Virginia, and sons Aryeh and Joe who are in Israel. They intend to bury him in
Israel.

Asael Arad, an Israeli student who visited the widow after the tragedy, told
Army Radio Tuesday that Marlena had been receiving e-mails from students who
credited Prof. Librescu with saving their lives. "I lost my best friend," the
widow told a reporter for NRG at her home near the Blacksburg campus. "He was
a great person, who loved teaching more than anything." Marlena said someone
had initially informed her that her husband was injured in the shooting. "I
looked for him in the hospitals all day but I didn't find him," she said.

The Librescus are Rumanian Jews who came on aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in
1978 - after then-Prime Minister Begin interceded on their behalf with the
Rumanian government, according to Marlena. The couple went on a sabbatical to
the United States since 1986 and has been living there ever since.
~~~~~~~~~
Please pray for everyone involved at Va.Tech. They need our prayers.

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