September 17, 2005

Mitzvahs...

From the President's speech, at a dinner celebrating the Judaisim's 350th year in America; the first Jews in America arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.

...One of the greatest Jewish soldiers America has ever known is Tibor Rubin. After surviving the Holocaust and the Nazi death camp, this young man came to America. He enlisted in the United States Army and fought in the Korean War. He was severely wounded and was later captured by the enemy. For two-and-a-half years, he survived in a POW camp. He risked his life for his fellow soldiers nearly every night by smuggling extra food for those who were ill -- it was a skill he had learned in the Nazi camps -- and because of his daring, as many as 40 American lives were saved.

This evening, I'm happy to announce that next week, I will bestow upon this great patriot our nation's highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor...


Tibor Rubin
Tibor Rubin in Korea, 1950

Here's a fascinating article on Rubin. The reluctance of the Pentagon to award this guy ANY medals is flabbergasting...

...[Sergeant] Watson, who according to lengthy affidavits submitted by nearly a dozen men who served under him — mostly self-described "country boys" from the South and Midwest — was a vicious anti-Semite, who consistently "volunteered" Rubin for the most dangerous patrols and missions.

In one such mission, according to the testimonies of his comrades, Rubin secured a route of retreat for his company by single-handedly defending a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers....

...Faced with constant hunger, filth and disease, most of the GIs simply gave up. "No one wanted to help anyone. Everybody was for himself," wrote Sgt. Leo A, Cormier Jr., a fellow prisoner.

The exception was Rubin. Almost every evening, he would sneak out of the camp to steal food from the Chinese and North Korean supply depots, knowing that he would be shot if caught.

"He shared the food evenly among the GIs," Cormier wrote. "He also took care of us, nursed us, carried us to the latrine....He did many good deeds, which he told us were mitzvahs in the Jewish tradition....He was a very religious Jew and helping his fellow men was the most important thing to him."...

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Posted by John Weidner at September 17, 2005 8:30 AM
Weblog by John Weidner