Israel Professor, Murdered Saving Students At Virginia Tech, Buried in Ra'anana

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  • Israel Professor, Murdered Saving Students At Virginia Tech, Buried in Ra'anana

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Israel Professor, Murdered Saving Students At Virginia Tech, Buried in Ra'anana

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<b>By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency</b>

Jerusalem ----April 19...... In a remarkable act of sacrifice and bravery, a 75-year-old Israel professor and Holocaust survivor was murdered in the massacre at Virginia Tech on Holocaust Memorial Day, Monday when he leaped between the crazed gunner and his students.

According to eye witnesses the heroic action of Liviu Librescu, a lecturer in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, saved the lives of an unknown number of students in his class. Asael Arad, an Israeli Virginia Tech student told Israel Army Radio that "all the students lived - because of him,".

The last person to see Professor Liviu Librescu alive appears to have been Alec Calhoun, a student at Virginia Tech who turned as he prepared to leap from a high classroom window to see the elderly academic holding shut the classroom door. The student jumped, and lived. Minutes later, the professor was shot dead.

Librescu&#39;s wife told the NRG Web site that her husband had loved his job with "all his heart and his soul."

Librescu was a gifted scientist in Romania, and the government tried to prevent him from moving to Israel. He was eventually allowed to leave the country after then Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin made a special appeal to President Nicolae Ceausescu, Ynetnews reported.

Librescu immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978 but moved to Virginia in 1986 for his sabbatical and had remained their ever since. The professor has two sons, one named Arieh who lives in Israel, and another, Joe, who resides in the US.

Librescu was described by his colleagues as a "true gentleman."

He was one of 32 people murdered in what has been described as the biggest single shooting attack in US history. Between his first and second bursts of gunfire, the Virginia Tech gunman mailed a package to NBC News containing pictures of him brandishing weapons and video of him delivering a diatribe about getting even with rich people.

NBC said that a time stamp on the package indicated the material was mailed in the two-hour window between the first burst of gunfire in a high-rise dormitory and the second fusillade, at a classroom building. Thirty-three people died in the rampage, including the gunman, 23-year-old student Cho Seung-Hui from South Korea, who committed suicide.

The package included a manifesto that "rants against rich people and warns that he wants to get even," according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case.

Late Wednesday, MSNBC showed a photo from the package of Cho glaring at the camera, his arms outstretched with a gun in each hand. He wears a khaki-colored military-style vest, fingerless gloves and a backwards, black baseball cap. "NBC Nightly News" planned to show some of the material Wednesday night.

Virginia Tech reported shootings on two sides of the 2,600-acre campus, the first at about 7:15 a.m. at a co-ed residential hall called West Ambler Johnston, and resuming about two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building.

According to students, at around 7:15 a.m. the gunman appeared in West Ambler Johnston and began searching rooms for his ex-girlfriend. He killed two people, Ryan Clark, and a freshman identified by students as Emily Hilscher.

In the second attack, the gunman shot professors and students in classrooms and hallways of the engineering building, killing around 30 people.

The carnage ended Monday with the gunman shooting himself in the face. There were 33 deaths in total.

Students complained that the university did not adequately warn them about the gunman until over two hours after the first incident and around the time that the second round of killings began. At that time, an e-mail was sent.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger defended the university, saying authorities believed the shooting at the dorm was a domestic clash and an isolated incident. They also mistakenly thought the gunman had left the campus.

"We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur," Steger said.

He added, "We can only make decisions based on the information you had on the time. You don&#39;t have hours to reflect on it."

Steger explained that it was difficult to inform everyone at Virginia Tech because there were thousands of people arriving to the campus on Monday morning.

"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," Steger said. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified."

In his speech at the United State Holocaust Memorial, US President George W. Bush paid tribute to Liviu Librescu, the aeronautics engineering professor who died while trying to save students during the shooting spree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

"That day we saw horror, but we also saw acts of quiet courage. We saw this courage in a teacher named Liviu Librescu. 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 that others might live. And this morning we honor his memory, and we take strength from his example." President Bush said.

Liviu Librescu&#39;s body was transported to Israel, on Wednesday, to be buried at the cemetery of the central Israel town of Ra&#39;anana.

Marilena, his wife, also flew also from New York Wednesday and due to arrive in Tel Aviv today, 37-year-old son Arieh told Deutsche Presse-Agentur in a telephone interview.

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Original Source:<a href="http://www.israelnewsagency.com/liviulibrescuvirgintechheroraananaisrael48041907.html">http://www.israelnewsagency.com/liviulibrescuvirgintechheroraananaisrael48041907.html</a>






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Joel Leyden

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Israel News Agency

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2007-08-12

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Adriana Seagle

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Joel Leyden,Publisher;israelnewsagency@gmail.com

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eng

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Joel Leyden, "Israel Professor, Murdered Saving Students At Virginia Tech, Buried in Ra&#39;anana," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1002, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1002 (accessed December 25, 2014).