Posts

A Most Tragic Irony

It seems that one of the professors who was killed in this week's Virginia Tech shooting was a Holocaust survivor. Liviu Librescu, an internationally respected aeronautics engineer who taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years, saved the lives of several students … Read More

By / April 18, 2007

It seems that one of the professors who was killed in this week's Virginia Tech shooting was a Holocaust survivor.

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.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," his son, Joe Librescu, said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

It's hard to imagine surviving the Holocaust only to lose one's life in another kind of massacre. You would think the odds would somehow be better. But this morning, as I walked through the halls of the university where I teach, I wondered what kind of professor I would be if I were caught in a similar situation. I would like to think that I would be someone who would try to protect the lives of my students before my own. But one never knows. This is where push comes to shove, where whatever little bit of character and integrity and decency you have will either show up or not.

Tagged with: