Daniel Lewin was Murdered While Battling Hijackers on Flight 11 on September 11th,2001.
Daniel "Danny" Mark Lewin was an American-Israeli mathematician and entrepreneur best known for co-founding internet company Akamai Technologies.Lewin was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in the Israeli capital Jerusalem. He served for four years in the Israel Defence Forces as an officer in Sayeret Matkal, an elite and secretive unit.He attended the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa while simultaneously working at IBM's research laboratory in the city. While at IBM, he was responsible for developing the Genesys system, a processor verification tool that is used widely within IBM and in other companies such as Advanced Micro Devices and SGS-Thomson.
Upon receiving a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in 1995, he traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to begin graduate studies toward a Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1996. While there, he and his advisor, Professor F. Thomson Leighton, came up with innovative algorithms for optimizing Internet traffic. These algorithms became the basis for Akamai, which the two founded in 1998. Lewin served as the company's chief technology officer and a board member, and during the height of the Internet boom achieved great wealth. He was posthumously named one of the most influential figures of the Internet age.
Danny Lewin was the first victim of the biggest attack in history that morning, in which almost 3,000 people died. An internal memorandum of the Federal Aviation Administration sets that in the course of a struggle that took place between Lewin, a graduate of Israel's elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal , and the four hijackers who were assaulting that cockpit, Lewin was murdered by Satam Al Suqami, a 25 year old Saudi.
Some time after the attack the Lewin family in Jerusalem received a telephone call from the FBI offices in New York. On the line was the agent responsible for the investigation of the attack on Flight 11. He told Peggy and Charles Lewin that there is a high degree of certainty that their son Danny tried to prevent the hijacking. The FBI relied, among other things, on the testimony of the stewardess Amy Sweeney.
Sweeney called Michael Woodward, the flight services supervisor in Boston, from the rear of the plane: "a hijacker slit the throat of a passenger in business class and the passenger appears to me to be dead." To this day the American investigators are not convinced that Danny Lewin was murdered on the spot. An additional stewardess, Betty Ong, who succeeded in calling from a telephone by one of the passenger seats, said that the passenger who was attacked from business class seat 10B was seriously wounded.
The Lewin family, Danny' parents and brothers, have no doubt that Danny battled the hijackers. And it is for them a tremendous consolation. "I wasn't surprised to hear from the FBI that Danny fought. I was sure that this is what he would do," Yonatan, his younger brother, said. "Danny didn' t sit quietly. From what we heard from the Americans, the hijackers attacked one of the stewardesses and Danny rose to protect her and prevent them from entering the cockpit. It is a consolation to us that Danny fought. We see it as an act of heroism that a person sacrifices his life in order to save others. An act of heroism that everyone should do at such an instance and particularly suitable for Danny."
That battle in the business section ended quickly. Lewin was overcome and bled to death on the floor. Two additional flight attendants were knifed and the captain was murdered. The hijackers were already inside the cockpit. They announced to the passengers to remain quiet in their seats.
After his death, the intersection of Main and Vassar Streets in Cambridge was renamed "Danny Lewin Square" in his honor. The award given to the best student-authored paper at the ACMSymposium on Theory of Computing (STOC) was named after him as the Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award.
Lewin is survived by his wife Ann and his two sons, Nitzan and Itamar, who were aged 5 and 8 during the September 2001 attacks
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