Tibor Rubin, who was of Jewish descent, was captured by the Nazis during World War Two and was imprisoned in a concentration camp. Luckily, he survived and was liberated by U.S. forces at the end of the war in 1945.
It was because of his sheer gratitude to U.S. troops that after the war he wanted to join the U.S. military. Tibor did just that. He organized a move to the U.S., where he joined the US Army and served in the Korean War. He was nominated to receive the Medal of Honor on quite a few occasions for risking his life to save others. It was finally awarded to him in 2005.
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.
Once the Korean War ended, Tibor returned to the U.S. Where he settled in the south of California. He worked in a liquor store with his brother Emery until he retired. At the age of 76, Tibor received his medal from President George W. Bush.
Tibor was originally from Hungary and had been born in a Jewish settlement called Paszto in 1929. Tibor’s father had served in the Hungarian Army in World War One and had also spent years in a prisoner of war camp in Russia.
When World War Two came along, and the Nazi occupation of Hungary took place in 1944, Tibor’s parents sent him with a number of other Jewish families to try to reach Switzerland, but they were caught by the Nazis and interned in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Tibor was just 14 years old at the time.
He didn’t think he would survive, but he lasted for 14 months before being finally liberated by U.S. troops in May of 1945. Tibor recalls how he promised himself that if he survived the concentration camp, he would give back to the world and join the US Army.
He died in December 2015.