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Liviu Librescu
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    (August 18, 1930-April 16, 2007)
    Born in Ploiesti, Romania
    Holocaust survivor
    Engineering/Mechanics Professor at Virginia Polytech University
    Graduated from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, in 1952
    Emigrated from Romania to Israel in 1978; settled in the United States seven years later
    Among the 32 victims murdered in the Virginia Tech massacre committed by student Seung-Hui Cho
    Sustained five bullets, including a fatal one to the head, blocking the door to his classroom from the gunman, enabling over 20 students to escape through a window
    Was posthumously awarded the Order of the Star of Romania, his home country's highest civilian honor
    His first name is easily mispronounced.
    Despite a great technical proficiency, he never learned to drive a car (his wife drove him to and from work).
    He was fired from an aerospace industry for failing to swear allegiance to the communist government.
    Coverage of his death tended to make it sound like he survived one of the infamous 'death camps,' as Elie Wiesel had, when in reality he was deported from a Transnistria labor camp to a small ghetto in the Romanian city of Focsani (which was bad enough, just not as horrific as Treblinka or Sobibor).
    He was reportedly the most published Virginia Tech professor in the university's history.
    He experienced virulent anti-Semitism both during and after the German occupation of his home country.
    He spent his childhood years in an internment camp with his family.
    He remained in Romania after the war, where he would go on to attain a Masters and a Doctorate.
    Because of his refusal to swear allegiance to the Communist regime, as well as his outspoken support for Israel, he and his wife had extreme difficulty obtaining a visa to emigrate out of the country.
    He advised the Romanian government not to go forward with the building of an experimental aircraft, telling them it would go up in flames if launched (the military ignored his advice and went ahead - it exploded).
    A manuscript of his that had been smuggled to the Netherlands for publication, in 1976, drew international attention (by this time he had been completely driven out of Romania's academia circles).
    The publishing of his work resulted in Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervening to get Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to issue him and his family an emigration permit.
    His act of self-sacrifice during the Virginia Tech Shootings was credited with saving the lives of 22 students, enabling them to escape while using himself as a human shield to block the door from bullets being fired into the classroom.
    He was posthumously honored days after the massacre at a memorial service held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was attended by President Bush and several Holocaust survivors.
    His heroism was honored with the establishing of a professorship in his name at Columbia University, in New York - 'The Liviu Librescu Professor of Law.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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