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 Posted Saturday, June 12, 1999

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David Rubitsky: A Legend in His Own Mind

AS a veteran of World War Two, David Rubitsky claimed that all alone he managed to kill 500 Japanese soldiers in the battle for New Guinea on December 1, 1942.

Rubitsky, an American Jew, also claimed he was denied a Congressional Medal of Honour because of anti-Semitism.

Assisted by the Anti-Defamation League and a largely sympathetic media, Rubitsky sought the recognition he said he had earned by his wartime valour and heroism.

Because of the lobbying efforts of the ADL, including a resolution signed by 92 members of Congress, in 1987 the U.S. Army undertook a two-year review of David Rubitsky's story.

On December 8, 1989, after obtaining evidence from forensic specialists and taking statements from Rubitsky and 20 others who served alongside him, the U.S. Army concluded that Rubitsky's claim was unfounded.

Quite apart from his remarkable tale, Rubitsky's claim was marred by controversy from the beginning. The headline bannered in the Madison, Wisconsin, Capitol Times said it all: "WW II Soldier Started Anti-Semitism Battle Early In Life." Newspaper and magazine articles, with references to "anti-Semitism," appeared in such prestige publications as TIME and the New York Times.

The storyline was simple: Rubitsky, a war hero, was not being rightly celebrated as one because of alleged anti-Semitism.

However, members of Rubitsky's old World War II unit disputed his claim and called it a hoax. George Hess, a member of Rubitsky's infantry regiment said, "It is the biggest fairy tale anybody has ever told the U.S. Army to get a medal."

Claire O. Ehle dismissed the claim as "one big hoax" and insisted Rubitsky was "hiding behind a smokescreen of anti-Semitism to cover up his flimsy, unsubstantiated fairy tale."

On February 9, 1990, two months after the U.S. Army report, the Jewish Week reported that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had finally conceded the Army's position.

After that, the story faded--but its cautionary value remains.

Capital Times

Madkison, Wisconsin, USA, November 29, 1989


WW II soldier started anti-Semitism battle early in life

by John Patrick Hunter


THE alleged anti-Semitism that may have deprived David Rubitsky of a Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, has dogged Milton's Jewish infantry veteran since he was a child in small town Wisconsin.

"Once again, I am taking suffering from these people who crucified me as a kid," Rubitsky said.

The Army is conducting a 22-month review of a claim by Rubitsky and two of his wartime commanders that he killed more than 500 Japanese soldiers in a World War II encounter in New Guinea, but that he was denied the medal because he was a Jew.

Rubitsky,in a visit to The Capitol-Times, said he was subjected to racist taunts even as a youngster growing up in Edgerton.

He was one of a family of nine children, seven boys and two girls, of a Russian Jewish immigrant family. "They used to put white crosses on our lawn," he said.

Rubitsky said his family was the only Jewish family in that Rock County comunity.

Efforts to discredit Rubitsky's wartime exploits have been mounted by a small group of men who were also in the Red Arrow division.Two of them recently told The Capitol Hill Times that Rubitsky's claim is a hoax.

"If medals were given for fairy tales, Rubitsky richly deserved one," Claire Ehle of Evansville said in a letter. He said his protest is being supported by Rolland McIntyre, Elgin Faye, Robert Burdick and Clifford Mason, Rock County veterans who also served in New Guinea in 1942-43.

Ehle and McIntyre brought their complaints against the Rubitsky claim to The Capitol Times last week.Both men strongly denied their efforts against awarding of the medal are based on any feeling of anti-Semitism.

Efforts to gain the Medal of Honor began anew two years ago when Rubitsky learned during the course of a Janesville reunion of veterans of Wisconsin's 32nd Infantry Division that he had been recommended for the Medal of Honor in 1942 after the New Guinea skirmish. He said he had been told that the recommendation had not been sent up the chain of command because a superior officer did not think a Medal of Honour should go to a Jew.

Some of the same verterans who served with him in the Pacific and grew up with him in the Edgerton area, "were among those who used to taunt me with anti-Semitic remarks," Rubitsky said.



The Janesville Gazette

Janesville, Wisconsin, USA, Janjuary 31, 1990

Study rejects Rubitsky's claim of anti-Semitism


MILWAUKEE--The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith said it doubts a Milton man was denied a Congressional Medal of Honor because of anti-Semitism in World War II.

David S. Rubitsky, 72, has petitioned unsuccessfully for the medal, submitting letters from supporters that say he earned the honor while with the 128th Infantry during the Buna campaign on New Guinea in 1942.

A Defense Department review panel said last year it found no evidence in U.S. or Japanese military records to support the claim that Rubitsky killed 500 enemy soldiers single-handedly.

Abraham H. Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, said this month in a letter to Lt. Col. Terrence Adkins, chief of the Army's military awards office, that a league investigation could not substantiate the claim.

"Based on all the evidence presented to us, we are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Mr. Rubitsky's account of his actions at Buna and his allegations that anti-Semitism prevented him from receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor are unfounded."

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