Man of courage

Man of courage

Apropos of my most recent post, there is the example of Prof. Liviu Librescu, a Romanian-Israeli Jewish survivor of the Holocaust who physically barricaded the door of his classroom, giving his life so that his students could escape.

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


When Romania joined forces with Nazi Germany in World War II, the young Librescu was interned in a labor camp, and then sent along with his family and thousands of other Jews to a central ghetto in the city of Focsani, his son said. Hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews were killed by the collaborationist regime during the war.

Librescu, who was 76 when he died, later found work at a government aerospace company. But his career was stymied in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the Communist regime, his son said, and he was later fired when he requested permission to move to Israel.

In 1977, according to his son, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervened to get the family an emigration permit, and they left for Israel in 1978.

Librescu left Israel for Virginia in 1985 for a sabbatical year, but eventually made the move permanent, said Joe Librescu: “His work was his life in a sense.”

We’ve used the phrase “men with chests” to describe men who have not succumbed to the spirit of the age and who remain authentically masculine. Prof. Librescu is counted among them.

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  • It seems that in an even more significant sense, his death was his life. A beautiful sacrifice by someone who KNEW life…
    Thanks for this post.