Tibor Rubin wearing the Medal of Honor he received at the White House.
|Born||June 18, 1929|
|Died||December 5, 2015 86) (aged|
Garden Grove, California, U.S.
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1950–1953|
|Unit||Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division|
|Awards|| Medal of Honor |
Purple Heart (2)
Yvonne Meyers(m. 1963)
Tibor "Ted" Rubin (June 18, 1929 – December 5, 2015) was a former Hungarian–American Army Corporal. A Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the United States in 1948, he fought in the Korean War and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the war, as a combatant and a prisoner of war (POW).
Rubin received the award from President George W. Bush on September 23, 2005, 55 years after the Korean war.Rubin was repeatedly nominated for various military decorations, but was overlooked because of antisemitism by a superior. Fellow soldiers who filed affidavits supporting Rubin's nomination for the Medal of Honor said that Rubin's sergeant "was an anti-Semite who gave Rubin dangerous assignments in hopes of getting him killed". In November, 2016, President Obama signed legislation renaming the Long Beach California VA Medical Center after Rubin.
Rubin was born on June 18, 1929, in Pásztó, a Hungarian town with a Jewish population of 120 families, one of six children (by three marriages) of shoemaker Ferenc Rubin.
When Tibor was 13, Ferenc and Rosa Rubin (stepmother) tried to send him to safety in neutral Switzerland, but he was caught and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. He was liberated 14 months later by American combat troops. Both of his parents and a sister perished in the Holocaust.
Rubin entered the United States in 1948, settled in New York and worked first as a shoemaker. He then apprenticed as a butcher at Michael Bela Wilhelm's Hungarian butcher shop on Third Avenue in the Yorkville neighborhood for about a year.
In 1949, he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army. He failed the English language test, but tried again in 1950 and passed with some judicious help from two fellow test-takers.
By July 1950, Private First Class Rubin found himself fighting in South Korea with I Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division.According to lengthy affidavits submitted by nearly a dozen men who served with Rubin in South and North Korea, mostly self-described "country boys" from the South and Midwest, an antisemitic sergeant named Arthur Peyton consistently "volunteered" Rubin for the most dangerous patrols and missions.
During one mission, according to the testimonies of his comrades, Rubin secured a needed route of retreat for his rifle company by single-handedly defending a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers. For this and other acts of bravery, Rubin was recommended four times for the Medal of Honor by two of his commanding officers. Both officers were killed in action shortly afterwards, but not before ordering Rubin's sergeant to begin the necessary paperwork recommending Rubin for the Medal of Honor. Some of Rubin's comrades were present and witnessed the order being issued, and all are convinced that Peyton deliberately ignored his orders. "I really believe, in my heart, that [the sergeant] would have jeopardized his own safety rather than assist in any way whatsoever in the awarding of the Medal of Honor to a person of Jewish descent", wrote Corporal Harold Speakman in a notarized affidavit.
Towards the end of October 1950, massive Chinese troop concentrations had crossed the border into North Korea and were attacking the unprepared American troops now trapped far inside North Korea. Most of Rubin's regiment had been killed or captured. Rubin, severely wounded, was captured and spent the next 30 months in a prisoner of war camp.
Faced with constant hunger, filth, and disease, most of the GIs simply gave up. "No one wanted to help anyone. Everybody was for himself", wrote Leo A. Cormier Jr., a former sergeant and POW. The exception was Rubin. Almost every evening, Rubin would sneak out of the prison camp to steal food from the Chinese and North Korean supply depots, knowing that he would be shot if caught. "He shared the food evenly among the GIs," Cormier wrote. "He also took care of us, nursed us, carried us to the latrine..., he did many good deeds, which he told us were mitzvahs in the Jewish tradition... he was a very religious Jew and helping his fellow men was the most important thing to him". The survivors of the prison war camp credited Rubin with keeping them alive and saving at least 40 American soldiers.
Rubin refused his captors' repeated offers of repatriation to Hungary, by then behind the Iron Curtain.
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Medal of Honor|| Purple Heart |
w/ 1 bronze oak leaf cluster
|Prisoner of War Medal|| Army of Occupation Medal |
w/ 'Japan' clasp
|National Defense Service Medal|
| Korean Service Medal |
w/ 4 bronze campaign stars
|United Nations Korea Medal||Korean War Service Medal|
| Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation |
In 1993, a study was commissioned by the United States Army to investigate racial discrimination in the awarding of medals. In 2001, after considering the case of Leonard M. Kravitz, Congress directed the military to further review certain cases. The ensuing investigation showed that Rubin had been the subject of discrimination due to his religion and should have received the Medal of Honor.
In 2005, President George W. Bush presented the Medal of Honor to Rubin in a ceremony at the White House, for his actions in 1950 during the Korean War.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit's line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin's gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
After his military service, he worked in his brother's Long Beach liquor store.Rubin was a resident of Garden Grove, California.
He regularly volunteered at the Long Beach Veterans Hospital; having earned an award for more than 20,000 hours of volunteer work. On May 10, 2017, the Medical Center was renamed in his honor as the "Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center".
Rubin died December 5, 2015, at his home in Garden Grove.He was survived by his wife Yvonne and their two children, Frank and Rosie.
Tibor Rubin is one of the Korean War heroes honored in the 2013 documentary Finnigan's War, directed by Conor Timmis. Rubin recalls his Holocaust experience and Korean War POW experience. Rubin's interview is intercut with footage of President George W. Bush telling Rubin's life story during his 2005 Medal of Honor ceremony. Actor Mark Hamill narrates Rubin's Medal of Honor citation in the film. Filmmaker Conor Timmis was greatly impressed by Rubin's positive attitude and sense of humor despite all the suffering he endured during his life.
The Distinguished Service Cross is the United States Army's second highest military award for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations, but which do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy and Marine Corps' Navy Cross, the Air Force and Space Force's Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross.
William Wilson was a United States soldier who served with the United States Army's Cavalry as a sergeant during the mid to late 19th century. He is known for being one of only nineteen individuals to twice receive his nation's highest award for valor, the U.S. Medal of Honor.
Captain Humbert Roque "Rocky" Versace was a United States Army officer of Puerto Rican-Italian descent who was posthumously awarded the United States' highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his heroic actions while a prisoner of war (POW) during the Vietnam War.
Benjamin Lewis Salomon was a United States Army dentist during World War II, assigned as a front-line surgeon. When the Japanese started overrunning his hospital, he stood a rear-guard action in which he had no hope of personal survival, allowing the safe evacuation of the wounded, killing as many as 98 enemy troops before being killed himself during the Battle of Saipan. In 2002, Salomon posthumously received the Medal of Honor. He is one of only three dental officers to have received the medal, the others being Alexander Gordon Lyle and Weedon Osborne.
Hiroshi H. "Hershey" Miyamura is a retired United States Army soldier and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the United States military's highest award for valor, for his actions during the Korean War. While he was held as a prisoner of war, the award was classified as top secret.
Melvin O. Handrich was a soldier in the U.S. Army during both World War II and the Korean War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on August 25 and 26, 1950, during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. He is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Waupaca County, Wisconsin.
Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. was a United States Army corporal who was killed in action while serving in the Korean War. Corporal Red Cloud posthumously received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions "above and beyond the call of duty" near Chonghyon, North Korea, on 5 November 1950 during the Chinese First Phase Campaign. Before joining the army, he had been a United States Marine Corps sergeant who had served in World War II.
John Denny was a Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Indian Wars of the western United States.
Clinton Greaves was a Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Indian Wars of the western United States.
Emil Joseph Kapaun was a Roman Catholic priest and United States Army captain who served as a United States Army chaplain during World War II and the Korean War. Kapaun was a chaplain in the Burma Theater of World War II, then served again as a chaplain with the U.S. Army in Korea, where he was captured. He died in a prisoner of war camp.
Harold W. Roberts was a United States Army Corporal and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War I.
Henry M. Fox was a Union soldier during the American Civil War, and a Medal of Honor recipient.
Adam Neder was a German-born soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 7th U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars. He was one of five men received the Medal of Honor for distinguished bravery, participating in search-and-destroy missions along White Clay Creek, at the Battle of Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890.
Sergeant William Foster was a British-born soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 4th U.S. Cavalry during the Texas–Indian Wars. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry against the Comanche Indians at the Red River in Texas on September 29, 1872.
First Sergeant Rudolph Stauffer was a Swiss-born American soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 5th U.S. Cavalry in the Apache Wars. He was one of twelve soldiers, along with ten Apache Scouts, awarded the Medal of Honor during Lieutenant Colonel George Crook's "winter campaign" of 1872-73, being cited for gallantry in battle against renegade Apaches near Camp Hualpai. Charles King, while serving with the 5th U.S. Cavalry in his youth, wrote of him in his memoirs as "grim old Stauffer, the first sergeant".
Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds was a master sergeant of the 106th Infantry Division, 422nd Infantry Regiment in the United States Army during World War II, who was captured and became the ranking U.S. non-commissioned officer at the Stalag IX-A prisoner-of-war (POW) camp in Germany, where – at the risk of his life – he saved an estimated 200 Jews from being singled out from the camp for Nazi persecution and possible death.
Claude Batchelor is a former United States Army soldier convicted by court martial of collaborating with China during the Korean War.
Mr. Rubin recommends not harboring hatred even with all his suffering and loss: "If you feel hate for your fellow man ... you'll only hurt yourself..."