The Anne Frank tree was a horse-chestnut tree in the city centre of Amsterdam that featured in Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl”. Anne Frank described the tree from The Annexe, the building where she and her family were hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
The tree was between 150 and 170 years old, and for the past several years it had been battling both a fungus and a moth infestation. The Borough Amsterdam Centrum declared that the tree had to be cut down on 20 November 2007 due to the risk that it could otherwise fall down, but on 21 November 2007 a judge issued a temporary injunction stopping the removal. Neighbours and supporters formed the Anne Frank Foundation to support the maintenance of the tree in memory of Anne.
Eleven saplings from the tree were distributed to various sites in the United States in 2009. These have been used to produce further saplings for future distribution and to keep the memory and genes of the original tree alive. The Anne Frank Foundation are currently offering saplings from the original tree to schools and other organisations in memory of the young girl. The ELP group have applied for one such tree to put into the school garden and we await news as to whether our application has been successful. Should we be the lucky recipient of a sapling we intend to create a small area in the school grounds dedicated to inclusion of all people – no matter their colour, religion or nationality.
On 23 August 2010 the tree was blown over in a rain-and-gale storm, breaking off about a meter above the ground. It fell across a garden wall and damaged garden sheds but did not damage anything else. However, on 24 August 2010 it was reported that a small side shoot was growing out of the stump below where it broke, and it is hoped that it will grow into a new tree. There are plans to keep large pieces of the fallen trunk and its large branches.
As part of our work investigating the life of Anne Frank we have also been reading an abridged version of her diary and watching excerpts of the BBC dramatisation of the book. (This can be found on You Tube should you wish to consolidate any of this work at home).