The incredible saga of an American hero who lived in obscurity for over 50 years.
Single Handed is the true story of Tibor "Teddy" Rubin, the only Holocaust survivor to have been awarded the Medal of Honor. It’s a vivid, one of a kind journey that spans 80 years, two wars and three continents, filled with selfless acts of bravery, endless fortitude, and surprising humor. (Story continues below the slideshow)
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When Tibor was 13, he was taken prisoner by the Nazis and sent to the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp. He barely survived 14 months of hard labor and starvation. After three post-war years in displaced persons’ limbo, a dream came true: he was permitted to enter the US.
A little more than a year later, the grateful immigrant enlisted in the Army, even though he barely spoke English. When fighting broke out on the Korean peninsula, Tibor declined an offer of alternative service to stay with his fellow trainees. But before they were dispatched for combat, a virulent anti-Semite became the company’s master sergeant.
The master sergeant assigned Private Rubin to more than his share of hazardous duty. Tibor accepted without complaint, and when he was left alone on a hill to guard an important ammunition dump, single-handedly defended it against hundreds of marauding North Koreans. A few weeks later, he defied orders to rescue a fellow GI who had been left for dead on a battlefield,. When a machine gun crew went down in heavy fire Tibor took over and held off a wave of enemy soldiers. In spite of these and other acts of selfless courage, his master sergeant denied Tibor the recognition he had earned.
After his battalion was decimated in “the Little Big Horn of Korea,” Tibor was sent to a Chinese-run prison camp on the Yalu River. During the coldest winter in 100 years, when many fellow POW’s perished, Tibor used the skills he’d acquired in Mauthausen to steal food for his starving buddies, treat the sick and wounded, and later, to openly defy his Communist captors, even after they offered to send him back to his native Hungary.
For more than 30 years after the war, Teddy Rubin lived in complete obscurity until a handful of his buddies, who believed that he had perished in Korea, mounted a passionate campaign to right the wrongs of his former master sergeant and to see that he was honored for his countless acts of heroism. It took 25 years and an act of Congress, but in 2005, at the age of 76, Tibor Rubin finally received our highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor.