UPDATE | President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday legislation renaming the VA Long Beach Healthcare System after Holocaust survivor and American war hero Tibor Rubin, who used the Long Beach medical center until his death last year.
The legislation, introduced by Congressman Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, will rename the facility the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center.
“I am honored and humbled to see the President sign into law my legislation to name the VA Medical Center in Long Beach after an American hero,” Lowenthal said in a statement. “Throughout his life, Tibor Rubin was dedicated and devoted to helping others through acts of kindness, courage and bravery. When challenges came his way he remained steadfast and determined to help others around him. I am proud to have met and represented such an honorable man like Mr. Rubin; I know the VA Medical Center in our community will pay tribute to his legacy and it is my hope that it serves as an inspiration to those that come after him.”
PREVIOUSLY: House Passes Legislation That Could Name Long Beach VA Medical Center After SoCal War Hero
11/30/16 at 2:27PM | The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed legislation introduced by Long Beach Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, California after Tibor Rubin, an American war hero who lived in Garden Grove, California until his death last year.
If the Senate and president approve the bill, the medical center will be renamed the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center.
“Even in the face of great adversity, Tibor rose beyond the call of duty to help his fellow man,” said Congressman Lowenthal in a statement. “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.”
Lowenthal introduced the bill earlier this month, with support and backing from the 53-member California House Delegation, according to his office. California senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer also supported the renaming of the VA Medical Center, along with such veterans groups as 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.
Rubin was a passionate patriot and survivor of the Holocaust who, in the face of experiencing intense religious discrimination while fighting in the Korean War, survived a prisoner of war (POW) camp and received a Congressional Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush in 2005. A New York Times obituary, published last December, called his life “Hollywood-worthy.”
Born in Hungary on June 19, 1929, Rubin barely survived 14 months in a Nazi concentration camp in Austria during World War II, where his parents and sisters died. He was eventually liberated by the U.S. Army, which inspired him to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Rubin gained a reputation for heroism during the war, as his sergeant, prejudiced against his Jewish faith, sent him on the most dangerous missions. Rubin once enabled the complete withdrawal of his fellow soldiers by solely defending a hill under an overwhelming assault by North Korean troops, according to Lowenthal’s office.
While interned as a POW, Rubin risked death and torture to sneak out of the camp and find food for his fellow soldiers. He also improvised medical techniques to perform on sick campmates, saving as many as 40 lives.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”
Rubin received services from the Long Beach VA Medical Center before his death, committed to ideals of true patriotism.
According to Lowenthal’s office, Rubin once said 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.”
Above, left: Photo from Military.com.