Thursday, April 19, 2007
In Memory of Dr. Liviu Librescu
First, I'd like to thank my esteemed colleague CMHL for a source of information on Dr. Librescu, and ultimately the idea for this post. You can read the AP story if you would care to read more about him.
Dr. Librescu lived in Romania as a young man, and ended up in a Nazi work camp during World War 2. He survived the experience where millions didn't. He ended up doing engineering work until he wouldn't swear allegiance to the Communist government. He was then denied permission to emigrate to Israel. Menachem Begin, the Prime Minister of Israel intervened on his behalf and got him released to Israel.
Dr. Librescu taught aeronautics in Israel, in Italy, and at Virginia Tech. He was the author of an enormous number of referred articles and leaves behind a body of work that is amazing. More impressive is this man's integrity. Here is a man who survived the Holocaust, lived behind the Iron Curtain and defied the Communist Government at the height of its Antisemitism, and at the age of 78 decided to protect his students with his body against a gunman. His wife has been getting e mails from kids in his class telling her how he saved their lives by his actions.
Some people can actually lead by example. Here is an example. In the future, he is what I will think of when people ask me what it is to be Jewish. I wish everyone would think of him too. Read more about him, get to know him better. To know the 512 rules of keeping kosher and the other similar rules is the 'head' of Judaism. Dr. Librescu is what the heart is supposed to be. I have to go now, I am so far away from where I should be by now. Now I have a benchmark to look at and take a periodic measure of myself. We all do. I have little hope of ever being in his league though. Now Dr. Librescu is a martyr.