House Passes Congressman Lowenthal Legislation Renaming Long Beach VA Medical Center After Holocaust Survivor and SoCal War Hero Tibor Rubin

November 29, 2016
Press Release

The U.S. House of Representative today passed legislation introduced by Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, California, as the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in honor of Holocaust survivor and Medal of Honor recipient Tibor Rubin.

The bill, H.R. 6323, was introduced earlier this month with the support and backing of the entire 53 member California House Delegation. California's two Senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, also supported the renaming effort, along with numerous veterans groups in California including, the American Legion, AMVETS, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Mr. Rubin was born in Hungary on June 18, 1929. He survived fourteen months in a Nazi concentration camp in Austria during World War II, where his parents and sisters died, and was eventually liberated by the U.S. Army. Inspired by the American soldiers who rescued him, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, eventually being deployed in early 1950 as a member of the U.S. Army's 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during the Korean War.

Despite facing religious discrimination from his sergeant—who sent Mr. Rubin on the most dangerous assignments and withheld his commendation—Mr. Rubin fought valiantly in several notable engagements. In one such engagement, Mr. Rubin enabled the complete withdrawal of his fellow soldiers by solely defending a hill under an overwhelming assault by North Korean troops.

On a later assignment, Mr. Rubin was severely wounded and captured. During his interment in a POW camp, he disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Risking certain torture or death if caught, he provided food to the starving Soldiers and desperately needed medical care for the wounded of the POW camp using improvised medical techniques. His brave, selfless efforts during his captivity were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners.

For his gallantry in close contact with the enemy and his unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war, Mr. Rubin was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2005.  Mr. Rubin's wartime heroism, both during combat and later as a prisoner of war, are true examples of the Medal of Honor goal to recognize "… conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty."

"Even in the face of great adversity, Tibor rose beyond the call of duty to help his fellow man," Congressman Lowenthal said. "His perseverance and determination to make our world a better place serves as a continued inspiration to our community. I am proud to have represented such a courageous and honorable individual like Tibor Rubin.  I hope the naming of the VA Medical Center in his honor will inspire future generations to impart change through acts of courage and kindness the same way Tibor did."

Mr. Rubin was also fiercely proud of his adopted American heritage. He once said that America is, "the best country in the world and I am part of it now. I do not have to worry about the Gestapo knocking on my door tonight. I have shalom peace; people die for it."

Mr. Rubin was a long-time resident of Garden Grove, California and received services from the Long Beach VA Medical Center. He passed away almost one year ago on December 5, 2015.

H.R. 6323 passed the House by unanimous vote voice. The Senate must now act in order to allow the bill to move to the President's desk.

To read the full bill text visit https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6323/text.