Possibly it’s not so surprising that one of the stories from VT Tech may have had a special impact on me.

Sometimes a story is so symmetrically turned that it ought to have been fiction. Those are the stories that pass very quickly from news to legend. There is something ery satisfying to my sense of mythic rightness in the story of Professor Librescu, who in holding a door closed opened the door to life, for many of his students. It’s the sense of a wheel turning that makes it so. Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust in Romania – actually in Transnistria, whence two-thirds of the deportees sent never returned. Having evaded that brutal, senseless and useless death, he had what the evidence says was a full life – two children, a Ph. D, a distinguished career. And then at the end he managed to evade a useless death one more final time. Of course his killing was still senseless; I’m sure he’d have preferred to continue his productive life. But he managed to turn a death that might have been unavoidable anyway into life for others, to turn himself from a victim to a hero.

In a way, it seems like a final sneer at Hitler, who would have cast this future hero aside as trash. If there were ever a human who became an archetype of evil, it is Hitler, so through him it becomes a jeer at all avatars of evil, all senseless killers. A life was saved from a useless death and instead it not only produced measureable good (knowledge of our world) during its span but committed the final heroism in its ending. Again: that’s not just a news story, it’s a myth, a story that tells us what our truth is. Jung would be proud.

It hardly needs the final irony the Universe slapped on to make sure no one missed the point: that Librescu died on Yom HaShoah. May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. May the pride mingled with their tears be a blessing and a consolation. And may his story become a legend, an inspiration, and a safeguard.