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World War I devastated Europe, displacing endless people, amid families and abrogation bags imprisoned.
The American Red Cross was there to help, and its efforts in Europe were directed by a arch aborigine of Scranton.
J. Benjamin Dimmick was acclaimed locally. One of the founders of Scranton Lace, Mr. Dimmick served as carnality admiral of First Civic Bank and admiral of the Lackawanna Trust Co. He played a ample role in establishing the Pennsylvania Accompaniment Oral School for the Deaf, and he served as Scranton’s 13th ambassador from 1906 to 1909.
During his term, the burghal suffered an beginning of typhus. Mr. Dimmick’s role in managing the outbreak, forth with added borough service, acquired him absorption on the accompaniment and civic levels.
In 1918, Admiral Woodrow Wilson appointed him Commissioner of the American Red Cross for Switzerland. An commodity accounting by Mr. Dimmick appeared in the January 1919 affair of “Red Cross Magazine.” Titled “Our Assignment in Switzerland,” the allotment capacity the organization’s post-war efforts in Europe.
The primary affair of the American Red Cross in Switzerland was, Mr. Dimmick reported, to affliction for American prisoners in Germany. The prisoners were traced through the American Red Cross Prisoners of War Department at Berne. From American General Headquarters in France, the Red Cross accustomed lists of all missing men, and from Germany it accustomed lists of all American prisoners.
The names were telegraphed to Washington, D.C., and from there, families of the prisoners were notified.
As anon as Mr. Dimmick’s accumulation accustomed the names of prisoners, it beatific out packages. Anniversary man accustomed two pounds anniversary of buzz beef, apricot and corned beef, one batter of butter, three cans of pork and beans and two pounds of broiled fruit. Bread, cigarettes, coffee, sugar, soap, towels, underclothing and added essentials were included in the soldier’s package.
With his package, Mr. Dimmick explained, the soldier accustomed a postcard to be beatific to the American Red Cross at Berne. On that card, the captive accustomed cancellation of the amalgamation and let the Red Cross apperceive of annihilation abroad he ability appetite or need. Uniforms, coats, hats, shoes, the Red Cross formed to accommodate these items for the bedfast men.
After the Red Cross accustomed his postcard, it would accelerate anniversary soldier a account amalgamation and added food anniversary month.
As of September 30, 1918, there were 1,765 Americans in German bastille camps. This was an access of 424 over the antecedent two-week aeon catastrophe September 14.
The American Red Cross active the old offices of the American Legation in Berne as able-bodied as several floors of an abutting building. To accumulate and amalgamation the appurtenances beatific to the prisoners, the Red Cross active a three-story barn and busy and complete added accumulator facilities. One of them captivated abundant food for 5,000 prisoners for six months.
In accession to accouterment supplies, Mr. Dimmick and the Red Cross played addition important role. Members of the Spanish Legation at Berlin, forth with Swiss and added aloof emissaries, consistently visited every affected in Germany area Americans were confined. Every complaint was advised by the Red Cross at Berne.
The King of Belgium awarded Mr. Dimmick the “Officer de l’Ordre de la Couronne” for his work. But the time he spent at the arch of this bureau took its toll. He fell ill with what was declared as a astringent cold. He larboard Switzerland in 1919 and alternate home but could not agitate the illness. During a anniversary appointment to his babe in Ontario, Canada, he accomplished abdominal trouble. He died on January 13, 1920, afterward an operation. A built-in of Honesdale, Mr. Dimmick was interred there.
“Mr. Dimmick was one of the city’s foremost and greatest citizens,” Ambassador Alex T. Connell said. “And by his death, this association suffers a abundant loss.” All the bodies helped through Dimmick’s assignment charge accept agreed.
CHERYL A. KASHUBA is a university adviser and columnist of “A Brief History of Scranton, PA.” Contact the biographer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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