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Dr Liviu Librescu

Dr Liviu Librescu

Birth
Prahova, Romania
Death 16 Apr 2007 (aged 76)
Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia, USA
Burial Ra'anana, HaMerkaz (Center District), Israel
Memorial ID 18978399 · View Source
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World-renowned scientist and professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics, specialising in aerospace engineering. Holocaust survivor. Murdered in the Virginia Tech massacre, he is credited with saving the lives of the students in his classroom by barring the door against the shooter, an action that gave the students enough time to escape. Dr. Librescu's childhood was marked by his family's internment in a labour camp in Transnistria, followed by deportation, along with the other Jews of the region, to the ghetto in Focsani. After the war, he remained in Romania, earning BSc and MSc degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and a PhD in Fluid Mechanics from the Academy of Sciences of Romania. In 1975, he was fired from a prestigious position in the state-controlled aerospace industry for failing to swear allegiance to the communist government. After his dismissal, Dr. Librescu and his wife were for many years denied permission to leave the country to immigrate to Israel. However, during this time he was able to secretly publish some of his work on aerospace technology in Norway, which brought him to the attention of others in the field. Eventually, pressure from the Israeli government, including a personal request from then Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Ceausescu, was successful in earning the couple an exit visa. In Israel, Dr. Librescu was able to continue his research. He taught for a number of years at Tel Aviv University and Haifa Technion, and in 1986, accepted a position in the department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). The morning of the massacre, Dr. Librescu was teaching a class in solid mechanics in Norris Hall. His students reported that when they realised shots were being fired in adjacent classrooms and in the hallway, he ordered them to hurry and jump out the windows, and refused to follow, instead choosing to bar the door, which would not lock, with his body. Dr. Librescu himself was killed, but his action is credited with giving his students time to escape the room. His students have stated that he saved their lives while sacrificing his own. Family, friends, colleagues, students and former students all remarked on Dr. Librescu's great dedication to his research and his love for his students. He was known as a generous, thoughtful, and friendly gentleman, and one who happily greeted colleagues and students in the halls and around campus as he went about his day. He had a love of classical music and walks in the woods near his home. Despite his technical and scientific proficiency, he, ironically, never learned to drive a car, and was driven to work and picked up each day by his wife. Two funerals were held, one in Brooklyn and the second in Israel, where he was buried; both were packed with mourners who praised his bravery and heroism. Dr. Librescu was survived by his wife of 42 years and two sons. He was posthumously awarded the Order of the Star of Romania by President Traian Basescu, in honour of his scientific and academic achievements and for his heroism during the shootings.

Bio by: tovah


  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 17 Apr 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 18978399
  • tovah
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Liviu Librescu (18 Aug 1930–16 Apr 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 18978399, citing Ra’anana New Cemetery, Ra'anana, HaMerkaz (Center District), Israel ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .