November 20, 2018

Tibor Rubin, Holocaust survivor and U.S. war hero, dies at 86

Tibor Rubin survived two years in the Mauthausen concentration camp then 30 months in a Chinese prisoner of war camp during the Korean war, then” target=”_blank”>Medal of Honor, America’s highest honor for bravery in combat. Rubin died of natural causes on Dec. 5 in Garden Grove, Calif. He was 86.

Born in Paszto, a Hungarian shtetl of 120 Jewish families, Rubin was 15 when he was liberated by U.S. troops and vowed to repay his debt by enlisting in the American army after arriving in New York in 1948.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Private First Class Rubin soon found himself singlehandedly defending a hill for 24 hours to cover the retreat of his company against waves of North Korean soldiers.

” target=”_blank”>a number of times on the deeds and tribulations of “Ted” Rubin, who in turn credited this newspaper with ramping up the pressure on the Pentagon.

So when, in late 2005, President George W. Bush finally invited Rubin to the White House to receive the Medal of Honor, the one-time Hungarian refugee asked a Journal reporter to accompany him for the ceremony.

Along the way, Rubin explained, “I wanted this recognition for my Jewish brothers and sisters. I want the goyim to know that there were Jews over there, that there was a little greenhorn from Hungary who fought for their beloved country.”

In recent years, despite advancing age and the aftereffects of his war wounds, Rubin continued to display his very Jewish brand of humor. Indeed, noting his heavy Hungarian accent, one observer described Rubin as “a cross between Zsa Zsa Gabor and Jackie Mason.”

When the Pentagon notified Rubin of his award, he characteristically observed, “You know, they used to call me a little shmuck, but now, with the Medal of Honor, I get more respect and they call me MISTER Shmuck.”

The Garden Grove Library was renamed to the Garden Grove Tibor Rubin Library and included a bust dedication, March 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of the City of Garden Grove

In 2015, the city of Garden Grove, where Rubin lived, bestowed his name on its new public library.

Tibor Rubin is survived by his wife, Yvonne, and children, Frank and Rosalyn Rubin.