Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Tibor Rubin, Holocaust Survivor, Korean War Hero, Dies at 86

Tibor Rubin, who survived two years in the Mauthausen concentration camp and then two-and-a-half years in a Chinese prisoner of war camp during the Korean war, died at age 86.

Rubin died Saturday in Garden Grove, Calif. His death was attributed to natural causes.

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.

During the Korean War in 1950, Rubin singlehandedly defended a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers to cover the retreat of his company.

Rubin was recommended three times for the Congressional Medal of Honor by two of his commanding officers for his conduct in the war. But the necessary paperwork was intentionally sabotaged by the company’s anti-Semitic first sergeant, according to testimonies by many of Rubin’s comrades.

In late 1950, Rubin was severely wounded and captured by Chinese troops. Applying skills acquired during the Holocaust, Rubin regularly stole food from Chinese supply depots and distributed it equally among his fellow prisoners, who later credited him with keeping 40 people alive.

Rubin finally won the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2005.

“I want this recognition for my Jewish brothers and sisters,” he said upon receiving the medal. “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.”

Earlier this year, Garden Grove, where Rubin lived, bestowed his name on its new public library.

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


  • Events

    Haart to Haart


    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.