It’s hard to imagine the horrors the survivors of the Third Reich’s concentration camps had to endure. Imagine the relief they felt when the Allied forces arrived and opened the gates to their freedom. Hungarian Jew Tibor Rubin knew precisely just that. That’s why he vowed to join the Army if he made it to the United States of America when he got liberated. He did so and more.

Holocaust Victim

Rubin was born to Jewish parents in Hungary in 1929. His parents had six children, three daughters and three sons. His mother, Rosa, was the third wife of his World War I veteran father, Ferenc. In early 1944, Rubin’s elder brother, Miklós, was drafted for forced labor, so his other brother, Imre, left with a friend, afraid that he would be forced to work. Unfortunately, they were captured at a train station and sent into a forced labor camp anyway. Later on, they were sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Young prisoners at the roll call area of ​​the Mauthausen concentration camp (Bundesarchiv, Bild 192-048 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ferenc did not want his third son to have the same fate. So, in March, Rubin, who was not 15 years old yet, left his home and hoped to reach the neutral land of Switzerland. He went with a group of Polish men running away from the Nazis. They were two weeks into their trip near the border of Italy and Switzerland when they were captured and deported to Mauthausen. Although Imre was there, too, it was not until the winter that they could see each other.

Later that same year, his parents and two sisters, Edith and Ilonka, were sent to Auschwitz, while his other sister, Irene, managed to survive the war in Budapest. Unfortunately, Rubin’s parents and Edith all perished in the Auschwitz camp that same year. (Some sources say that his father, Ferenc, was transferred to and died in Buchenwald.)