Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

Long Beach Veterans Medical Center Renamed In Honor of Tibor Rubin

Winter 2016

On Friday, December 16, President Obama signed into law legislation to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Long Beach, California, as the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in honor of Holocaust survivor, JWV member, and Medal of Honor recipient Tibor Rubin. The former concentration camp victim and former POW served his country by serving others as a volunteer at the VAMC in Long Beach, where he also received his medical care.

The bill, H.R. 6323, was introduced by Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) earlier this month with the support and backing of the entire California House delegation. California’s two Senators supported JWV’s renaming effort, as did other veterans service organizations, including the American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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.

Born in 1929 in a small town in Hungary, Rubin was 13 when he was captured by the Nazis and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. He survived there more than a year until the camp was liberated in 1945 by U.S. forces. After three years in a displaced persons camp, Rubin and his siblings immigrated to the United States. He became a citizen and was determined to support the country who liberated him by joining the Army during the Korean War, and he was sent to Korea as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

Tibor’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, Tibor 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.

Rubin passed away just over a year ago before he could see this honor come to fruition: a testament to our community, state, and nation that Congress continues to be supportive and appreciative of our selfless and devoted veterans who sacrifice so much. Thank you to the JWV Department of California, led by Department Commander Greg Lee, for spearheading this effort and making sure that Rubin’s life and memory is honored.

About Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Founded in 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is one of oldest active veterans’ organizations in America. JWV is dedicated to upholding America’s democratic traditions and fighting bigotry, prejudice, injustice, and discrimination of all kinds. As a national organization, JWV represents the voice of America’s Jewish veterans on issues related to veterans’ benefits, foreign policy, and national security. JWV also commits itself to the assistance of oppressed Jews worldwide.

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