2017-01-04 / World News

VA Medical Center named for Medal of Honor winner

President Barrack Obama signed legislation to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, as the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in honor of the Holocaust survivor, Medal of Honor recipient, and Jewish War Veterans member. Rubin was a volunteer at the Medical Center that now bears his name and received his medical care there. The effort was spearheaded by the JWV.

Born in a small town in Hungary, Rubin was sent by the Nazis to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, where he spent 1 1/2 years. The camp was liberated by American forces in 1945. Rubin came to the U.S., became a citizen, and determined to give back to America joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Rubin’s sergeant deliberately put him at great risk, having him cover retreating soldiers with only a machine gun and defend a hill against attacking North Korean troops for 24 hours. The first time, Rubin was unscathed. The second time, after inflicting substantial casualties on the enemy, he suffered multiple wounds.

In early November 1950, Rubin was captured during battle and sent as a prisoner of war to a Chinese prison camp located along the border of North Korea and Manchuria. Offered early release by his captors due to his background, Rubin chose to stay and help the other prisoners with the survival skills he learned at Mauthausen. He spent 30 months there.

In 2001, JWV legislative chairman and recently deceased Congressman Ben Gilman and JWV patron Congressman Robert Wexler helped pass the bipartisan Section 552 of Public Law 107-107. This law mandated the review of the records of all Jewish American veterans and all Hispanic American veterans whose service might merit the receipt of the Medal of Honor. As a result of this act, Tibor Rubin was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service, bravery, and dedication in 2005, 55 years after his combat service. Rubin passed away just over a year ago.

Return to top