Holocaust Survivor's Heroism

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A makeshift memorial (right) for Romanian-born Liviu Librescu (left), 76, at the Romanian Polytechnic University, in Bucharest, Romania, April 17, 2007. A Virginia Tech professor and Holocaust survivor, Librescu was killed April 16, 2007 - the date which is Holocaust remembrance day in Israel, where he lived in the 1970s - as he heroically held the door shut to his classroom, keeping the Va. Tech massacre gunman out for a few minutes while students jumped to safety from a second floor window.
Family Photo/AP

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Among the countless heartrending stories to emerge from the Virginia Tech rampage, one of the most poignant is that of Liviu Librescu, an Israeli professor and Holocaust survivor who died while saving the lives of his students.

Librescu, a 76-year-old professor of aerospace engineering, barricaded the door to his classroom, blocking the shooter from entering and giving his students time to escape out the window.

"He saved my life," one student told the Los Angeles Times.

In a case of tragic irony, USA Today points out that Librescu was killed "shielding his students from a mass murderer on the day that Jews who were mass murdered during World War II are remembered each year."

Librescu's son, Joe, said his father's death on Holocaust Remembrance Day was "symbolic."

"This was typical of him. He did not fear death and at all times tried to do the right thing."

Gunman A Mystery Even To Roommates

He's been widely described as a "loner" with few friends, but even his roommates say they knew little about Cho Seung-Hui.

Two students who shared a suite with Cho at Virginia Tech's Harper Hall describe him as a virtual stranger, who ate his meals alone in the dining hall and rebuffed any attempts at friendship.

"He was my roommate," 19-year-old sophomore Joe Aust told the New York Times. "I didn't know him that well, though."

Aust and another suitemate, Karan Grewal, 21, said they never saw Cho with a girl or with any friends.

But while they thought he was strange, they never imagined he was capable of mass murder.

"He was always really, really quiet and kind of weird, keeping to himself all the time," Aust said. "Just anti-social, didn't talk to anybody."

Grewal told the Washington Post that Cho began the day Monday just as he did every other day.

"He didn't have a look of disgust or anger. He never did. There was always just one look on his face," Grewal said.

"He had that blank expression, nothing else."

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