Professor Slain in Virginia Tech Massacre Laid to Rest in Israel

Israeli professor Liviu Librescu, slain in the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, was laid to rest Friday in the Kfar Lahman cemetery in Ra'anana.

Alex Traiman ,

Israeli professor of engineering and mechanics, Liviu Librescu, slain in the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, was laid to rest Friday in the Kfar Lahman cemetery in Ra'anana, Israel.

At a Holocaust Memorial ceremony Wednesday, in Washington DC, attended by US President George W. Bush, the president praised Librescu, a Holocaust survivor. "That day we saw horror, but we also saw quiet acts of 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," Bush stated. "On the Day of Remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so that others may live. And this morning we honor his memory and we take strength from his example."

The funeral began Wednesday with a memorial ceremony at a funeral home in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. At the service, NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, "He gave his life for his students. It is the ultimate sacrifice, and the ultimate goodness, after all that he went through in his life."

At the burial in Israel, Librescu's family was presented with the Order of the Star of Romania for his bravery and his contributions to science.  The award was presented for Librescu's bravery and contributions to science on behalf of Romanian President Traian Basescu.

Librescu was murdered along with 31 others in what is being called the worst shooting massacre in American history. Librescu physically baricaded the door, preventing the gunman from entering while the students in his classroom escaped by jumping out a second story window. The Israeli professor was killed by bullets that penetrated the door.

Still teaching at age 77, Librescu was well known for his work in aeronautical engineering. He began teaching at Virginia Tech in 1986, while on a sabbatical from his teaching in Israel. Prior to his 20 years at Virginia Tech, Librescu taught at Tel Aviv University as well as the Technion in Haifa.

Librescu, who was extraordinarily well-published in his field, started his career as an engineer in Romania. He was fired from his job upon requesting an exit visa to Israel in 1970. A Communist refusenik, Librescu and his family made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 1978, after then-Prime Minister Begin interceded on their behalf with the Rumanian government.

Librescu is survived by his wife, Marlena, and his sons Joseph and Aryeh. "He was a very human person," Marlena said. "He wanted to help everybody."