Nebraska Authors

Lou Leviticus

Born 1931-07-04 Aalten (The Netherlands)

Died 2015-12-12

In October 1942, Lou Leviticus, aged 11, escaped a police raid in Amersfoort, where the Leviticus family was hiding from the Nazi onslaught. As police barged in, Lou ran to the back of the house followed by his father who closed the door behind him and Lou jumped off a 3rd floor veranda. An awning broke his fall and allowed him to escape. He never saw his parents again.

After emigrating to the United States and earning his Ph.D in engineering at Purdue University, Leviticus had a long career as an engineer and served as director of UNL's Tractor Test Lab from the late 1970s through his retirement in 1998. After retirement he continued working as volunteer curator at the Larsen Tractor Musuem on East Campus.

Lou Leviticus was known for his ability to speak to people and open their eyes to the events and the meaning of the Holocaust. He translated his feelings and his observations into vibrant images that captured the imagination of his audiences. His survival and pain gave Lou the wisdom that helped many see that, despite pain, life is worth living.

Leviticus wrote his memoir under the pseudonym "Ben Wajikra" taken from Hebrew words meaning "Son of Leviticus" in memory of Max and Sera Leviticus, the author's parents.

Places Lived

Lincoln, NE
Amsterdam, Holland

Author Of

  • Biography


Memoir; Nazi Holocaust


Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa
Purdue University, Ph.D.


Professor, Agricultural Engineering
Director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory
Curator of Larsen Tractor Museum, volunteer

Places Worked

University of Nebraska, Lincoln


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 21 October 2012


Tales from the Milestone: My Life Before and During 1940-1945. 2003.

Lou Leviticus was the featured speaker in an Ames Reading Series program in October 2012, which can be viewed here:

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Lou Leviticus

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)