Saturday, May 13, 2017

Introducing Marjorie Sloan

It seems strangely appropriate that at this point in the blog when Opa's family is being deported to their deaths, news is scarce, and hope is waning- that we should happen upon a bright light. At this point in the timeline, my grandparents had been dating for at least a few months. There is a letter coming up where Opa mentions "that spring meeting on the hill" which I believe is when they met. (I've got a whole story about that that I'll share soon!) So let's say it was at least 3 months if not perhaps a year since they've met. Clearly since I'm calling her Grandmother, you already know about at least part of how their relationship works out.

We are going to delve into their love letters. Their love is a beacon of hope and light in the midst of darkness. These letters are the first things I saw and was able to read snippets of when I found that box of letters under my Grandmother's desk. These letters are what inspired the rest of the research.

Before we delve into the letters- I need to give you some background on my Grandmother and her family- like I did with Opa. Soon her siblings and home will be integral characters in this broadening story. So it's important you know them!
Announcement of Marjorie Sloan's August 14th birth 
in Selden Chronicle (Newspaper) on August 17, 1922

Reads: "A daughter arrived the first of the week to spend the next twenty years at the W.J. Sloan home. Everyone doing nicely - Bill is still in the seventh heaven of delight - it's the first girl."

Marjorie Ann Sloan was born on a farm in Selden, Kansas on August 14, 1922. She was the youngest, and the only female. She had three living brothers, a brother who was the next youngest had died at age 4 a year after she was born. In a way, Grandmother was a shining light after a terrible loss. Her older brothers were much older and did most of the work around the farm. Grandmother lived an unusual experience as a farm girl- because she was the youngest and only girl, her chores were minimal in comparison to her brothers. She spent a lot of time in her mother's garden.

My Grandmother in August 1926 (4 years old)- Can you handle the cuteness?

I'm going to spend the next few blogs talking about Grandmother's family and how they came to live in the middle of nowhere. I've been there- miles and miles of flat land and endless horizon. But in this blog I want to talk briefly about my relationship with Grandmother.

My experience of Grandmother was a proper and polished woman. She always had a purse and a pair of shoes to match her outfit. She always wore hose. She could play the piano, organ, and bells- though none of her family inherited her musical talent (except maybe my uncle). She loved to whistle and sing little ditties. One of the songs she often sang was "Blue Skies, nothing but blue skies do I see"- which I understood more deeply when I witnessed the endless Kansas sky.

Every time it rained, even if it was flooding, Grandmother would say "I guess we needed the rain." She hated rain but was always grateful for it- I am certain that was her conditioned response to living through the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s. Grandmother was 90 pounds dripping wet, with a delightful short crop of curly hair on her head. She had the tiniest body, with a large chest (another characteristic she did not pass on). I'm not sure she ever reached 5 feet tall, while Opa towered over her at 6 feet 2 inches.

Grandmother and Opa in front of their Mount Vernon home, in the late 80s, early 90s.

She loved birds, and had just about every notecard, stationary, and notepad with birds on it that existed. She was an avid gardener, organic gardening before it was cool. She could feed a household with her vegetable garden, but her pride and joy were her rose bushes in the front yard (to the left of the driveway, so you can't see them in the picture above). Even in her later stages of dementia, if she walked by a rose bush she would prune it.

Grandmother was a serious proponent of dessert. She would eat measly portions of dinner, but always a healthy dessert. Never too much- but there wasn't a meal when she couldn't justify dessert. She wasn't the best cook, but was a wonderful baker. Her cherry and apple pies were legendary. She had a fun thing she would do with us granddaughters when she made pie: she would let us roll out the leftover crust dough, spread butter on it, and cover it with cinnamon sugar. We called them "sugar pies" and ate them like they were the most valued delicacy invented. Just the other day my older sister texted a picture of a sugar pie that she made with her children.

Grandmother was a preschool director and teacher. This education benefitted us as grandkids. She would play all sorts of word games, make crafts with us (including making play dough), and was very hands on.

She and Opa enjoyed the fine arts together: opera, musicals, art, and other concerts. They were so refined and fancy to me as a kid. Yet they also played with me and engaged.

Grandmother had a tissue, cough drop, and comb in every single purse she owned, and in most of her pockets. Looking back I'm wondering if she had allergy issues. There was a story that she had some sort of botched tonsillitis surgery, which meant that she had to take smaller bites of food because her throat wasn't completely right. No idea if that was true.

I loved Grandmother. She was more formal (as you might be able to tell from the name she chose for herself) -so it wasn't a mushy relationship - but it was warm. The more I learned about her background and where she grew up- the more she made sense to me, and the more I understood how Opa stole her heart.

When I lived in Fairfax, Virginia, I was about 30 minutes from Grandmother's apartment in a nice retirement home. I would visit occasionally and drink hot tea with her. She doted on my first son, who was such a show-stopper in her retirement home. The residents rarely saw anyone as young as I was, much less a baby. We would sit in the main dining room, with Grandmother beaming with pride. Many people would stop by our table to talk to the baby, to feel his soft cheeks and ask me questions about him. Grandmother wouldn't hesitate to claim him as her great-grandson, and though she formally insisted that we call her Grandmother, she happily settled for Gi-Gi as her name for the great-grandchildren. 

My favorite job was the two years I took care of Grandmother. She was so grateful and kind. She certainly had a solid penchant for the guilt-trips if she thought I hadn't visited enough (I started writing my visits down in her calendar so I would get "credit" for the visit.) She adored my son, she had a stubborn streak of independence, but we managed the dance just right where she allowed me to help and I allowed her to feel independent. She asked about me and my family, asked about how my son was doing. She told stories of her childhood and watching her boys (my Dad and uncle) growing up. She was so excited for me when she found out I was having another boy, and get my own two boys like she had. We played cards, went to doctor's appointments, ate good food, and drank lots and lots of hot and lukewarm tea.

She was just as much my companion as I was hers. I miss her. 

We moved her to Florida to live near my parents after she had fully healed from a medical emergency. I knew that my growing family and potential for a move would negatively affect her. She needed more than I could provide. So we moved her and my parents got the benefit of her whistling and quiet appreciation. They got to learn the little tricks for getting her to eat more and drink more water. They got to see her eat healthy desserts. My mother and I bonded over our little tricks of the trade when it came to taking good care of Grandmother. We were lucky- it wasn't too hard to keep her quality of life fairly high. 

Then when none of us really expected it, she was gone. She did get to meet my second child, who was 6 months old as we gathered for our last Thanksgiving dinner with Grandmother. There was a moment of beautiful clarity that evening, when she looked up, looked around at the whole family sitting at the table and exclaimed: "We're all here!" She knew us- she always knew us, we were grateful that her dementia never stole her knowledge of her family. But in that moment she was distinctly aware that we were really all there. Shortly after we left my family's home, Grandmother came down with pneumonia, and quickly slipped away from us. 

We would be back together again to bury her in December at Opa's grave in Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral at Arlington was a beautiful experience for me. It was sort of like closing a book that had been read many times and lovingly cared for. Of course I wish I could read it again, ask more questions, drink more tea, eat more ice cream and pie. But there in the cemetery, there in the perfectly crisp and proper burial grounds of the heroes of the United States - were buried my Grandmother and Opa together- brought together by completely bizarre and unlikely circumstances. They stayed together against all odds (and many predictions of their failure). They both had full lives. It was the right time and place for closing the book. 

l look forward to diving into her family history and learning a little bit more about what made her who she was.

Friday, May 12, 2017

June 23, 1943: Mama is Teaching

Red Cross Letter from Ella to Opa


23 June 1943
Beloved boy, hope you are healthy as we are.  I’m nearing fluency, Mama is teaching. Papa healthy. No news from Patti for a long time, from you either. Greet the Shelleys!
This is the second letter from Annchen's address, this one not even signed from Ella. I wonder if Ella is hiding out at Annchen's home. I think it is odd that Annchen uses a whole sentence to talk about Ella tutoring her (in English I suppose). However, perhaps it really is something easy and happy to mention. Perhaps it was a way to mention Ella without specifically naming her. They haven't heard from Patti, who is in the "free" part of France (southern France) but likely still not completely safe. August must be keeping a regular correspondence with Annchen. I really wonder if Opa didn't get letters from August or if he didn't keep them. Either way- that's odd isn't it?

Opa received this letter sometime in November of 1943 it seems. Five months later. I hope he is writing to Ella. I know she needs it. In the meantime, mama is teaching.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 27 & June 21, 1943: Summer Work

Letter from Opa to INS


1011 More Street
Manhattan, Kansas
May 27, 1943
St. 16645

U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service
Kansas City, Missouri


During the summer months, i.e. from May 24 till September 15, 1943, I shall be working as assistant laboratory instructor for the Electrical Engineering Department of Kansas State College. The work will be 48 hours per week at a compensation of $28.60 per week.

I am planning on continuing and finishing my studies at Kansas State College in the coming school year.

Very truly yours,

Thomas W. Doeppner
Response from INS to Opa


U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service

June 21, 1943

St. 16645
Doeppner, Thomas Walter

Mr. Thomas W. Doeppner
1011 Moro Street
Manhattan, Kansas

Dear Sir:

Information has been furnished this office by the Kansas City office of this Service that you will be working full time as an assistant laboratory instructor for the Electrical Engineering Department of the Kansas State College during the summer months from May 1943 to September 1943.

This full time employment during the vacation period will be satisfactory to this Service. You will, of course, be expected to resume your studies at the beginning of the next academic year.

Sincerely yours,

Earl G. Harrison, Commissioner
T.B. Shoemaker, Assistant Commissioner

Opa is working the same laboratory assistant job through the summer, and luckily he is able to do it full time (more than!). His pay is about the same rate as when he did it part time. 

This letter exchange shows how much easier it is for Opa to work and provide for himself now that he has a student visa. According to this letter, he just has one more year left of school! Wow- time has flown!

Also- brace yourselves. I'm not sure exactly when he met my Grandmother, but by this point she is definitely in the picture. We'll be introducing her soon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 22, 1943: We're Together

Red Cross Letter from Annchen/Ella to Opa


May 22, 1943
Beloved birthday boy,
We’re together, thinking of you longingly with many good wishes. Still without news. Patti, Papa healthy. We kiss you!

This letter is written from Annchen's address (Opa's aunt, August's sister). I'm not sure if that was a safety thing or that's just how it worked out. With the deportations well under way, and Ella's family disappearing, I wonder just how she is managing. Her notes to Opa betray nothing of her fear, she keeps it upbeat and focused on the basics of her love for Opa and the updates on the (very) immediate family. Opa receives a formal birthday greeting on his birthday, and the reassurance that Ella is with Annchen. I imagine that first line must have provided Opa with comfort "We're together." Loneliness is not good mixed with fear.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tracking Family: May 17, 1943 - Hilda and Hans Simon

On May 15, Hilda and Hans Simon were arrested. On May 17th they were deported to the East: Auschwitz/Birkenau. They were murdered shortly after their arrival, but I have no idea how soon. I spoke with their grandson over email. He told me his grandmother survived for 2-3 months after being deported, but they aren't sure when she died. They are pretty sure that Hans was sent immediately to the gas chambers.

This is a little of their story as I know it, told in documents, pictures, and interviews.

Hilda Simon is Ella's cousin. Remember how August (Opa's Dad) left Ella and married her cousin? That cousin is Emma. Emma is Hilda's sister. This is Hilda:

Hilda Simon

I'm not sure exactly how old Hilda is in this picture, but this is likely around the age that she was when Opa was a kid. She was younger than Ella, her birthday was April 12, 1896. Ella was born in 1889- so Hilda was seven years younger. That's about the age difference between myself and my younger sister. At this stage in life, she is my contemporary, so I imagine Hilda was similar for Ella.

The divorce between August and Ella and August's marriage to Emma did create some awkwardness between the cousins. When I spoke with Wolfgang on the phone before his death (Wolfgang Simon was Hilda's son), he told me that Ella did not attend the children's parties while August was still in Berlin, but once he moved to Amsterdam, she attended family events and a lot of the tension resolved a bit. He said they weren't upset with each other, it was just an awkward situation. Once August and Emma were out of the picture, the family resumed normal contact. Wolfgang was able to immigrate to Palestine (now Israel) with the help of his uncle, Werner, and he remembered saying goodbye to Ella. His parents, Hans and Hilda, remained in Berlin.

All information I will share on Hilda also relates to her husband, Hans. 
Letter from Werner Fraustadter (Hilda's brother who immigrated to Palestine/Israel) to International Tracing Service

Transcription/Translation (rough one):

Dr. Werner Fraustaedter        23. April 1955
bei Prof. Krueger
Frankfurt/Main, Schumannstr. 45

International Tracing Service
Arolsen (Waldeck)

1. Hans Simon, born March 10th, 1894 in Berlin
2. Frau Hilda Simon, (maiden name Fraustaedter), born April 12th, 1896 in Berlin. 
Both last residence in Berlin, Jewish Hospital (??), Iranischestr. (a street name?)(I'm guessing this might have been a Jewish ghetto?)

In a claim for compensation, which, according to the BEG, is attached to the Detention Office in Berlin to Reg. No. 274008 and 247009, and which is operated by my nephew Wolfgang Simon, I ask for a free deportation certificate for the above mentioned, which are my brother-in-law and sister, Respectively. Both were on 15.5.1943 of Berlin, collected from Gr. Hamburgerstr. (Street) With a transport to the East. A card from Birkenau came from Hilda Simon. Both have not returned from the deportation.


P.S. At the same time I request this letter to be forwarded to the special office in Arolsen waiter, and I ask you to send me sterba tickets for both of the above. My power of attorney is located at the Berlin Detention Office.

So clearly my google translate is not perfect here- but what we have here is Werner Fraustaedter, Hilda's brother, initiating the request for information, and what is formally called a "Certificate of Incarceration." He does this on behalf of Wolfgang, one of Hilda and Hans' sons (they had two: Wolfgang and Munni). This certificate is part of the paperwork required for Wolfgang to collect any kind of compensation (in terms of reparations). Notice that this request is submitted in 1955. The sheer mass of missing people has made this process of information gathering and process of attempting reparations long and tedious.  I may have mentioned this before, but I once met a holocaust survivor only a handful of years ago who was following an information trail with the hope that his sister may have also survived the war and was living in Australia. He had no way of finding out before the age of the internet. Nor did he have hope that he would find anything. Can you imagine?

Here's the part that absolutely cracked my soul: "A card from Birkenau came from Hilda Simon. Both have not returned from the deportation." Both have not returned...

Official Request for Certificate of Incarceration


Allied High Commission For Germany
International Tracing Service
APO 171 U.S. Army

Request For Certificate of Incarceration

(Please answer every question very clearly and write in Block Letters)

Date: 17.3.1955 (March 17th, 1955)

Information about the Former Inmate,

1. Name- Simon    
2.Maiden Name - Fraustadter
3. First Name- Hilda 
4. Sex - Female
5. Present Nationality --  
6. Previous Nationality - German or stateless
7. Birthdate - 12.4.1896 (April 12th, 1896)
8. Birthplace - Berlin; Father's name - unknown  Mother's Name and maiden name - unknown
9. Last Permanent Residence Before Entering the Concentration Camp
a) Locality- Berlin C  b) Street -August Str.
c) Country - Germany   d) County --
10.Marital Status in Conc Camp - married
11. Profession in Conc Camp - teacher
12. Information about the various Stays in Concentration Camps
a) Above mention entered the Conc. Camp - Auschwitz
Prison Number. - -- 
on - Unknown - Coming from- Berlin
b) Tranferred to Conc Camp  -- on -- Prison Number. --
c-d) Transferred to Con. Camp ---
e) Liberated, released or died on - unknown in- Auschwitz
13. Give the exact name and birthdate etc used in the concentration camp if different from those on application: --
14. For Which purposes is the certificate needed?:
The request is made for the purpose of satisfying claims for reparation under the Compensation Act
15. Any other useful information: --
16. Name, First Name and Exact address of person to Whom The Certificate should be mailed:
Compensation Office Berlin, Berlin W 35, Potsdamer Strasse 186
17. What is the Relationship of Enquirer to Former Inmate? Removed

I'll talk more later on this information, but I wonder how they know that Hilda was a teacher at the concentration camp? Either way that makes my heart sink. Did she teach? How long did she survive there?!

Copy of Certificate of Incarceration for Hilda Simon

Transcription/Translation (Summary):

Certificate of Incarceration

Simon, Fraustadter Hilda - German/Stateless
Birthdate: April 12, 1896 in Berlin
Prisoner's Number: Not specified

It is hereby certified that the following information is available in documentary evidence held by the International Tracing Service.:
Simon, Hilda
Birthdate: April 12th, 1896
Birthplace: Berlin
Last Permanent Residence: Berlin, N. 65 Iranischestr. 2
Has Evacuated (Deported) to the east
on May 17, 1943 
coming from "1 Gestapo" Berlin (38. East Transport)
Category, or reason given for incarceration: "Judin" (Jewish)
No information on transfers or liberation/release
Remarks: There is no proof of death. Therefore we are not in a position to issue a death certificate.

Records Consulted: Transport lists of Gestapo area of Berlin.

May 13, 1955

This certificate reads like Aunt Julie's certificate. There is no proof of death- meaning there is no trace left of them. They most definitely died.

The following are information cards on Hilda Simon found through various searches of archives.

This card lists her name, birthdate and place, that she was deported from Berlin to Auschwitz where she was deceased. The next card is essentially the exact same information.

This card gives slightly more information. Her name is listed as is her birthdate and place. Her religion is listed as Jewish. It gives her last permanent address. Then it says "On May 17th, 1943, she was transported to the East. On the right column it reads: "Evacuation List by the SS (State Police) in Berlin "38 East Transport on May 17 1943"

Here is another card, another short explanation of what happened- this one with similar information. Hilda Simon was Jewish, and deported May or June of 1943. This information was given to Wolfgang Simon, her son, who lived in Tel Aviv at the time.

All these cards, all the numbers and information traced through documents and lists- they all tell the same truncated story: these people were Germans, until one day they were arrested for being Jewish and sent East to Auschwitz where they were never heard from again. The trail, and their lives end there.

Hilda Fraustadter Simon, I see you in that picture. I see your smile and imagine your life as a loving mother and family member. I thank you for your son Wolfgang, whose voice I got to hear once. I thank you for your grandson, who keeps your name in is memory.  I am so sorry that this life did not give you space to age.

Hans Simon. I do not know very much about you but I honor you. I name you as a member of my family, as a part of my story that I will not forget. I am so sorry that this life did not allow you the privilege of old age in peace. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

April 29, 1943: What is Ellen Doing?

Red Cross Letter from Ella to Opa


29 April 1943
My boy,
Long time without news from you, Patti. How about your exams? Annchen sends greetings; they miss you a lot.  
What is Ellen doing?
I kiss you!
Yours, Mama

Ella writes again in a little more detail than usual. Things are quiet, although we know Opa has written and that the letters must be slow to make their way. She asks about his exams and Ellen (Ellenruth, Martha and Erich's daughter). 

I wonder how much Ella knows about Martha and Erich. Does she know at least that they are missing? I assume she does. If so, then perhaps her asking Opa about Ellen is a way for her to check in and to tip Opa's hat to inquiring into Ellenruth's well-being. Either way, Ella has always been kind and loving toward Ellenruth, in a way that the rest of the family has not tried as hard. She cares, even in the midst of her own confusion and fear- she is caring for others.

What is Ellen doing? Is she wondering why she hasn't heard from her parents? Or does she know why?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

April 1, 1943: The Electron Microscope

Article on The Electron Microscope written by Opa in the Kansas State Engineer


The Electron Microscope
Magnification with Electrons

Modern Science, like modern armies, moves with blitzes, and any time of apparent dullness is bound to be crowned by some especially big and great invention or some revolutionizing theories. The electron microscope came to us as such a blitz, and its history is correspondingly brief. 
Only twelve years ago, in 1931, C.J. Davisson and C.J. Calbick performed their experiments on the lens properties of apertures and developed the formula for the focal length of a circular and a split aperture. This gave birth to the predecessor of the electron microscope, the electrostatic electronic lens. Geometrical electron optics became a popular subject of research in the coming years, and two Germans, E. Bruecke and H. Johansson, have the credit of producing the first electron images of an oxide cathode with an aperture lens system utilizing 300-volt electron beams. After that, things started to move more rapidly. In the same year, M. Knoll and E. Ruska developed the first magnetic electron microscope and produced images of a cold cathode with short magnetic lenses, utilizing 60,000-volt electron beams. Since there was no literature on this field yet, E. Bruecke and O. Scherzer, in 1934, published the book which later became the classic of electron microscopy, “Geometrische Elektronenoptik.”
        Skipping through the next years, we come to the research laboratories of R.C.A. and find a commercial electron microscope only 16 inches long and capable of magnifying 100,000 times.
The important feature of any kind of microscope is not, as is commonly believed, the magnification factor, but the size of the smallest detail visible. An analogy to this difference is given in the case of the photographic plate. If a picture is taken on a coarse-grain paper such that the details do not show up clearly enough, no amount of magnification will make the picture clearer. Additional magnification would only serve to make the grains stand out more. In microscopy, the wave length of the light beam – or in the case of the electron microscope, the electron beam – corresponds to the grain in photography. If a detail is smaller than one half of the wavelength applied to it, it is not perceivable, no matter how strong a magnification is used. 
This fact sets a theoretical limit to the results obtained with a light microscope. Since the wavelength of light is about 1/50,000 of an inch, the smallest detail resolvable by a light microscope is approximately 1/100,000 of an inch, linear. The present light microscopes, therefore, can theoretically be improved to give an amplification such that the particles of 1/100,000 inch length can be made visible, but no amount of magnification will make a particle visible which is smaller. 
Since the electrons may be thought of as a wave motion of comparatively short wave length, electron beams can be used in a microscope just as well as light beams. The wavelength of the electrons depends on the potential with which they are accelerated, as was shown by de Broglie about 20 years ago. If the electrons have been accelerated through a potential difference of 50,000 volts, their wavelength is reduced to only a five-billionth of an inch. Therefore, details can theoretically be made visible which have a linear extension of only two and a half billionths of an inch. It might be figured, thus, that an ideal electron microscope is 25,000 times better than an ideal light microscope; in other words, that the magnification of the electron microscope to the light microscope corresponds to the magnification of an ordinary laboratory-size light microscope to the naked eye. 
Naturally, there exists neither an ideal light microscope nor an ideal electron microscope. At the present time, the light microscope comes much closer to its ideal condition than does the electron microscope; the latter one, however, is still in the infant stage and has far to go. 
In a light microscope, the light beams are focused by glass lenses. No glass nor any other matter will focus or refract electron beams; the only effective system of control for electrons is an electric field. Refer to the figure. A divergent electron, originating at P. enters the magnetic field of the solenoid S, and is thereby brought to a focus at P. Thus, a solenoid or some other source of an electromagnetic field serves as a convergent magnetic lens. By the aid of these magnetic coils, a system of magnetic fields can be set up which corresponds to the system of glass lenses in the light microscope. 
Since electron beams, as such, possess a wave length outside the range of the human eye, the projected picture is not visible immediately. To make it visible, the electrons are either made to fall on a photographic plate, or, if immediate vision is desired, on a fluorescent screen. 
The proper preparation and proper arrangement of the object, which is a critical problem in the case of the ordinary light microscope, becomes even more critical in the electron microscope. The object is usually supported on a very thin celluloid film, about one two- millionths of an inch in thickness. The specimen is prepared as a suspension in water. A droplet of the suspension is placed on the celluloid film, and, after the water has been permitted to dry, the specimen rests on the celluloid film as an extremely thin layer. The maximum thickness which permits electrons to pass through the specimen, depends on the substance of the specimen and on the voltage applied to accelerate the electron beam. A voltage of 200,000 volts makes about all substances, which are ordinarily used, transparent. It is obvious that a higher voltage reveals more details, until a point is reached where the picture becomes faint, or, to use a photographic expression, overexposed. Increase in voltage reveals more details until a voltage of about 100,000 volts is reached; the picture at 200,000 volts is no longer usable for the transparency has become too great. 
An electron microscope of the type described above can be used whenever it is not necessary to observe surfaces of opaque specimens. Electrons reflected on the surface of these specimens cannot be utilized, because the velocity of reflected electrons is too inhomogeneous to lead to satisfactory pictures.
This problem waited for its solution until the development of the “scanning electron microscope” had been successful. This microscope differs greatly from both the light microscope and the standard electron microscope. The picture of the object is now formed instantaneously, but, similar to television, the intensity of a single minute picture is recorded at one time. The final picture is built up of a great number of such elements of different intensity. Usually, the scanning electron microscope uses electrostatic lenses instead of electromagnetic ones. 
The electrons are guided through a series of these electrostatic lenses and are focused on the object, where they form a spot less than a millionth of an inch in diameter. This concentrated electron beam causes a secondary emission of electrons, and emission which is proportional to the relative brightness of the part of the object hit. The returning secondary electrons pass through the last electrostatic lens and fall on a fluorescent screen. The electron beam will yet be too weak to be seen on the screen with the naked eye, so the light emission from the screen is used to control the output current of an electron multiplier. This output current can be amplified to any desired value and is then used to control the intensity of the halftone lines of the final image. 
The question of the kind of lenses to be used in the commercialized electron microscope gave rise to much controversy within the manufacturing companies. In the late 1930’s, most builders had used electromagnetic lenses. A.E.G. in Germany, however, had done research on both methods and concluded that the electrostatic method gave more satisfactory results. The General Electric Company, which built the recent “portable” electron microscope, uses electrostatic lenses in it, while most R.C.A. models employ the electromagnetic type.
The electromagnetic lens consists of an iron-core coil wound around the axis of the electron microscope. Its poles have to be shaped so as to give the desired field distribution to concentrated flux gaps. The coil does not have to be in the vacuum to which the electron beams are restricted, thus the physical manipulation and adjustments of the coil are made very convenient. The voltage applied to the coil is comparatively low, such that the insulation problem is of no importance. The focal qualities of the lens can easily be varied by varying the current through the coil. 
The main disadvantage of the electromagnetic lens system lies in the difficulty of alignment. The lens has to be realigned for every change in lens current, beam characteristic, or the electron accelerating potential. In order to keep the image from blurring, voltage and current regulations of one part in 50,000 are usually necessary.
The electrostatic lens consists of three apertured discs, the center one of which is insulated from the outer two and held at a different potential. The focal characteristics of such a lens is varied by adjusting the potential on the center disk. This system has a definite advantage over the electromagnetic system, because a change in the accelerating potential will cause a corresponding and proportional change in the lens potential. Thereby, the focal properties of the lens system remain unaffected and realignment is not necessary. Current and voltage regulations are no longer of great importance, and an ordinary half-wave power supply is sufficient. 
Because of these advantages, the General Electric Company chose the electrostatic system for its commercial electron microscope. This system permits a simpler power supply, easier and more permanent adjustment of the electron beam and an all-around more convenient manipulation. 
The applications of the electron microscope are as varies as can be expected. Medecine, chemistry, biology, botany, physics, are just a few of the fields of its widest applications. At the present time, the medical field has taken advantage of the electron microscope more than any other scientific field. Many bacilli and viri, hidden from the human eye in the past, had to surrender its disguise in front of the strong penetrating power of the electron microscope.
Very extensive research has been done with the electron microscope in the field of chemistry, a notable example being with chemistry of smokes and dusts. The individual particles of these substances are so small that they cannot be observed with the light microscope. The electron microscope revealed that most smokes, especially metal smokes, have particles of a typical, characteristic shape. The effect of finely divided carbon, so-called carbon black, as a reinforcing agent for rubber had been known before, but it took the electron microscope to find out the cause for this behavior. 
The electron microscope is still very young, but at this time it has rendered enough valuable service to the field of science and the field of human welfare, that its development and its future are well worth watching and promoting.    

Wow. If you read that entire article, I'm clapping for you. This is where I discover that not everything Opa wrote is interesting to me. This was VERY boring to me. However- I put it here because not everyone is bored by electron microscopes in the 1940s. If you enjoyed this, (and I know one person who will) then I'm so glad. 

I will say, it reminds me of how important it is for people to do what they are good at. I have zero interest in the development of electron microscopes, but I am invested in the technological advances that have been made as a result, particularly medical ones! So all you nerdy engineers out there- thank you. Thank you for doing your thing and making the world a better place, even if a lot of us are bored out of our minds about the process. Don't worry about that- you just keep going. I'll write you a story, you build me a microscope.