Tibor Rubin was a Hungerian Jew born on June 18, 1929. At the age of 13 the Nazi's sent him and his family to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. The SS guards told him and the other Jews that nobody would leave alive. He was liberated by American troops two years later. His parents and two sisters would die in the holocaust. Rubin was so touched by the kindness of the American soldiers that he wanted to be, in his words, a "G.I. Joe". He came to the United States in 1948 and settled in New York. In 1949 he tried to achieve his dream of becoming a soldier and gaining American citizenship by enlisting. Rubin couldn't speak English and failed the language test. In February 1950 he tried again and with the help of two test takers was able to pass. After entering the army he was stationed in Okinawa. On June 25, 1950 the North Koreans invaded South Korea and because Rubin was a Hungarian national he was given the option of remaining in Okinawa but he refused. So he was assigned to combat in Korea's Pusan perimeter. His first sergeant Artice Watson hated Jews, blacks and hispanics. Watson continually sent Rubin out on dangerous missions in the hope that he would be killed. Rubin would return each time unhurt after successfully accomplishing his mission. Whenever Watson needed a volunteer he would ask; "Where is that son of bitch Hungarian Jew"? His prejudice was known by all.
On one incredible mission Rubin was left behind on a hill by himself to protect the withdrawal of his unit. Sergeant Watson told him that he would come back for him later. Rubin filled each empty foxhole with grenades and rifles. He wanted the North Koreans to believe that there were more than one man defending the hill so he ran from hole to hole lobbing grenades and shooting the rifles.. For 24 hours he singlehandedly held off the North Koreans, killing many of them until his unit had safely retreated.Rubin waited several days for Watson to come for him but he never did. He eventually made his way back to his unit. For his bravery he was recommended for the Medal of Honor four times and also for the Silver Star. Sergeant Watson was ordered several times to submit the paperwork but the officers who recommended the Medal of Honor were both killed. Watson never submitted the paperwork. On October 30, 1950 the Communist Chinese invaded Korea. Rubin was wounded after fighting the Chinese hand to hand and was captured. Most of the soldiers in his unit were killed or captured. Rubin and the survivors suffered through a "death march" to a Chinese prison camp. He saved men on the march by encouraging them and treating their wounds. Rubin saved one mans infected arm, and his life, by placing maggots in the wound, which prevented gangrene. The Chinese turned the Americans over to a North Korean prison camp. Besides spending two years in a Nazi concentration camp he would spend three years in a North Korean prisoner of war camp.
For nearly a year and a half Rubin would sneak out of the camp almost every night where he found food and supplies in nearby villages and would reenter the camp before the guards missed him. If he had been caught he would have been shot on the spot or tortured. When the Communists found out that he was a Hungarian national they offered to release him and allow him to return to Hungary but he refused to go. As incredible as his bravery was he didn't receive his Medal of Honor until fifty-five years after the end of the war. President George W. Bush presented it to him on September 23, 2005. Tibor Rubin could be the poster child of immigration. Here is a man that wanted to be an American citizen. As far as possible he has assimilated into the American culture and has a deep and abiding love for this country. The following is in Tibor Rubin's own words. “I always wanted to become a citizen of the United States and when I became a citizen it was one of the happiest days in my life. I think about the United States and I am a lucky person to live here. When I came to America, it was the first time I was free. It was one of the reasons I joined the U.S. Army because I wanted to show my appreciation.”