Former professor, Holocaust survivor Leviticus dies

Former professor, Holocaust survivor Leviticus dies

Calendar Icon Dec 15, 2015          RSS Feed RSS

Lou Leviticus was a longtime professor of agricultural engineering and director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory on UNL's East Campus.
Lou Leviticus was a longtime professor of agricultural engineering and director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory on UNL's East Campus.
Lou Leviticus, a Holocaust survivor and longtime professor of agricultural engineering at UNL, died Saturday after suffering complications from a stroke. He was 84.

Leviticus was also known for his autobiography – "Tales from the Milestone" – which chronicled his early life as a child in the Netherlands to his escape from the Nazis and the personal tale of how the Holocaust ripped apart his family.

In late 1942, the Leviticus family was hiding in Amsterdam when the police came to the door. Lou, then age 11, jumped off a third-floor veranda to escape. His parents – Max and Sera – were arrested and a few weeks later died in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Leviticus spent much of the next three years on the run until he was taken in by Karel and Rita Brouwer, who risked their own lives to help many Jews avoid arrest.

After the war, Leviticus immigrated to Israel and earned an engineering degree at the Israel Institute of Technology and served in the Israeli military during the 1967 and 1973 wars. He came to the U.S. to earn a doctorate at Purdue University in 1974 and a year later became a professor of agricultural engineering at UNL, where he was also director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory.

After his 1998 retirement, Leviticus was an emeritus faculty member in biological systems engineering and volunteered as a curator at the Larsen Tractor Museum on UNL's East Campus.

Leviticus was known internationally for his willingness to speak to people about the events and impact of the Holocaust.

He is survived by his wife, Rose, their daughters Melanie and Joanna, five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Memorial services for Leviticus will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 22, at the South Street Temple, 2061 South 20th St. and at 2 p.m. Wednesday, December 30 at the Grand Lodge at the Preserve, 4400 S. 80th St. In lieu of gifts or flowers, donations may be made in the name of Lou Leviticus to the University of Nebraska Foundation.