Anne Frank tree lives on

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010
Anne said with the tree she could not be unhappy

Anne said with the tree she could not be unhappy

The chestnut tree which comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding from the Nazis may survive despite being toppled by a storm.

The teenage diarist could see the tree from her family’s Amsterdam hiding place, and in her two years she spent there before being sent to Bergen-Belsen she wrote of admiring it “nearly every morning”.

Anne wrote: “As long as this exists...I cannot be unhappy."

Earlier this week the 150-year-old tree crashed across nearby gardens after snapping at about one metre above its roots. The tree, which weighs some 60,000 pounds, had already been damaged by fungus and moth infestation.

But a shoot has been found growing from healthy wood in the tree’s splintered trunk. The remains of the tree will now be left planted so a new chestnut can flourish.

Helga Fassbinder of the Support Anne Frank Tree foundation said the shoot should grow quickly because “it benefits from the enormous root system.”

Ms Fassbinder said a rescue operation has been planned to lift out larger chucks of the tree by crane and chip off smaller branches.

Fassbinder said large chunks of wood from the tree, estimated to weigh 60,000 pounds (27 metric tons), will be lifted out of the garden by crane and saved. Smaller branches and leaves will be chipped.

The tree has inspired replicas around the world, including 150 at one Amsterdam park.

The Anne Frank Trust UK said these trees are memorials to the “millions of children like Anne who have died as a result of persecution, conflict and inhumanity.”

Executive director Gillian Walnes said she wanted more people “to keep Anne’s hopes and dreams alive by planting a tree to symbolically replace this special tree.”

Nati Yeyni, an Israeli teacher, told the Jewish Chronicle that he and his students had brought a cutting from the tree and are planning to plant it beside a monument to an Israeli paratrooper.

Last updated: 11:53am, August 25 2010