MOHR Survived WWII Concentration and KW POW Camps
by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Corinna Baltos
April 23, 2023
This is the story of a camp, a boy, another
camp and the courage and faith to face evil.
concentration camp was situated on a hill, roughly 12 miles east of
Linz, Austria, where Adolf Hitler grew up.
It was a camp
where murder was a way of life.
During World War II the camp
housed men, women and children. One of these children was
13-year-old Tibor Rubin, who was sent to Mauthausen in March 1944,
when the Nazis began rounding up Hungarian Jews. He was alone, his
parents and siblings had already been killed by the Nazis.
Fifty-two years after the Korean War ended, Tibor “Ted” Rubin receives his Medal of Honor September 23,2005. Rubin was presented with the MOH for single-handedly manning the Tegu-Pusan Road link so his unit could escape the Pusan Perimeter and for his actions keeping his fellow POWs alive and fed during 30 months of captivity. Rubin was recommended for the MOH in the early 1950s, but because of discrimination due to his religion it was initially denied. In 2001, to correct the racial discrimination in awarding medals during most of the 20th Century, the U.S. military determined Rubin had been discriminated against, and recommended him for the MOH. Rubin joined the Army after making a promise to himself to repay the American Soldiers who liberated him from Mauthausen concentration camp, where he had spent 14 months as a teenager. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
At the time of Tibor’s arrival, Mauthausen
was known, even by Nazi standards, as one of the most brutal and
severe camps. The reason for this was the “Stairs of Death,” where
prisoners were forced to carry stone blocks, many weighing more than
100 pounds, up 186 stairs from morning to night.
Many of the
times the guards would force prisoners to race each other up the
stairs, carrying the stones. The racers would then be taken to a
cliff known as the “Parachutists Wall,” where the winner would be
given the option of being shot or pushing the loser off the cliff.
was rampant. By 1945, most inmates were “existing” on less than
1,000 calories, and many grown men weighed less than 90 pounds. By
the time Tibor arrived, life expectancy was less than three months.
He would survive for 14 months until he was liberated by American
Soldiers from the 11th Armored Division, Third U.S. Army on May 5,
Tibor was so grateful and impressed by the kindness of
his liberators that he vowed to emigrate to America and become a
U.S. Soldier to pay back the debt he felt to these men.
saved me from this nightmare,” said Tibor during an interview in
2005. “I want to save others.”
In 1948, at the age of 19,
Tibor, now calling himself Ted, achieved his dream and moved to
America. Two years later he became an American Soldier serving with
the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during the Korean
During his time in Korea, Ted’s platoon sergeant was a
man named Arthur Peyton who disliked the Jewish kid with the funny
accent, so he assigned him the most dangerous duties.
the duties Ted was assigned by Peyton was to single-handedly defend
the Taegu-Pusan Road link so his company could retreat safely and
breakout from the Pusan Perimeter.
Even though he was
terrified and felt abandoned by his sergeant, he remembered the
promise he made to save others.
Bolstered by his promise and
his belief in God, Ted stood alone in the darkness and fought off
waves of North Korean soldiers while his comrades escaped to
For this deed he was recommended for the Medal of
Honor, however Sgt. Peyton refused to submit the paperwork.
In October 1950, Ted’s unit had pushed far into North Korea when the
Chinese army attacked. Most of his unit was captured or killed by
the Chinese onslaught. Ted, who had been wounded in the attack, was
captured by the Chinese and spent the next 30 months in POW camp.
In some ways the camp was like Mauthausen. Hunger, filth and
disease were rampant. Most of the Soldiers either gave up or would
only help themselves. The exception was Ted, who used the knowledge
that kept him alive during the Holocaust to keep his fellow Soldiers
When the Chinese found out Ted was originally from
Hungary, they offered to release him and repatriate him back to his
native land. He refused, saying he was an American.
every night Ted snuck out of the camp, but instead of making a run
for it, he stole food from the Chinese and North Korean supply
depots to bring back to his fellow prisoners and cared for the sick.
He kept his comrades’ spirits up by telling them, “Eat. Drink.
Your family is waiting for you. You will go home. This will pass.”
His actions saved the lives of at least 40 American Soldiers.
Ted said he did this because it was his mitzvah, or commandment
by God, to help his fellow prisoners, just as the American Soldiers
helped him in 1945.
In 2005, 52 years after the end of the
Korean War, Ted Rubin was finally presented with the Medal of Honor
for his actions in Korea.
He died in 2015 ... leaving
behind an inspirational legacy. He said that throughout the horrors
of his life, even when he lost everything, he still clung to hope.
To this date, Rubin has been the only survivor of the Holocaust
to have received the Medal of Honor for service in combat.
is also associated with Yom HaShoah ... Holocaust
Yom HaShoah is observed in April because it
is the month that most of the camps were liberated by the Allied
armies. It also commemorates the start of the Warsaw Ghetto
uprising, which began on April 19, 1943.
Rubin's Medal of Honor Citation |
Honoring The Fallen |
Don't Weep For Me |
Remember The Fallen |
Tears For Your Fallen |
America's Best | America's Greatest
Heroes | Uncommon Valor
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Answering The Call
The U.S. Marines |
Citizens Like Us |
Vietnam War Veterans
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We The People
Answering The Call |
One Nation Under God |
Love and Pride of USA
National Will |
God and Country |
America, My Home!