February 15, 2012
A friend of mine sent me a video of Tibor Rubin a Hungarian born Jew that spent time in a Nazi concentration camp then immigrated to the USA to join the Army. Rubin fought with gallantry in the Korean War then was captured by the N. Koreans to spend some more time as a Korean concentration camp as a POW. As a POW he again acted beyond what was expected to help his fellow American soldiers.
I found the citation information for Rubin’s belated award of a Medal of Honor in 2005 which I will follow with a version of the video sent by a friend.
JRH 2/15/12 (Hat Tip: Shirley)
Extraordinary Heroism: Tibor Rubin
Article Courtesy of DefenseWatch
Republic of Korea, From July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953
Corporal, U.S. Army
Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
Citation: 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.
Story of Tibor Rubin
Rubin was born in Paszto, Hungary, one of six children of a shoemaker. During the German’s effort to wipe out Hungary ‘s Jews in 1943 the 13-year-old child was transported to the infamous Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. His parents and two sisters perished. Rubin was liberated two years later by American troops. He came to the United States in 1948.
In 1950, after learning enough English to pass the Army’s entrance examinations Rubin joined the cavalry just in time for the Korean War. A few months later he was Private First Class Rubin fighting on the frontlines of Korea with I Company, 8th Regiment, First Cavalry Division.
According to lengthy affidavits submitted by nearly a dozen men in Rubin’s company, the Hungarian volunteer found himself under the thumb of one First Sgt. Artice Watson, a soldier who consistently “volunteered” Rubin for the most dangerous patrols and missions, according to official Army reports. Rubin’s bravery fighting during the chaotic early month of the conflict earned Rubin two commendations for the Medal by two commanding officers that were later killed in action, but not before ordering Watson to complete the paper work to secure the Medal of Honor for Rubin.
In one such mission, according to the testimonies of his comrades, Rubin secured a route of retreat for his company by single-handedly defending a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers.
Nothing came of the officer’s recommendations. Affidavits filed in support of Rubin that were written years later revealed Watson was allegedly a vicious anti-Semite who instead gave Rubin dangerous assignments in hopes of getting him killed. When the Chinese intervened in October, 1950 Rubin’s regiment was wiped out and Rubin, severely wounded, was captured. He spent the next 30 months in a prisoner-of-war camp.
Survivors of the prison camp where Rubin was caged credited him with keeping several dozen men alive. In affidavits submitted to the Army after their release they recommended him for the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star, the Army’s investigation showed.
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 Sgt. Leo A, Cormier Jr., a fellow prisoner.
Rubin was a rare exception, according to the soldiers whose lives he saved. Almost every evening he would sneak steal food from the Chinese and North Korean supply depots, knowing that he would be shot if caught, the affiants stated.
Despite his heroic actions and the recommendations of dozens of soldiers, Rubin received nothing from the Army but his discharge!
For some 30 years after his separation from active duty, Rubin and his wife Yvonne, herself a Dutch Holocaust survivor, lived quietly in Garden Grove, Calif. raising two children until Congress acted, the Army moved, and Rubin was recommended for the Medal of Honor, nation’s highest award for bravery.
To learn more about Rubin read Sometimes it Takes an Act of Congress.
Extraordinary Heroism: Tibor Rubin
© 2005 DefenseWatch. All opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.