The chestnut tree that young Holocaust victim Anne Frank wrote about in her now-famous diary has collapsed in a storm. The giant tree had lived for more than 150 years.
The home where Anne Frank and her family hid, now a historic site, was not damaged when the tree fell. Several nearby buildings were hit.
The tree was one of the few things the Frank family could see from their attic hideout. It inspired young Anne, who wrote, “From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for any sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”
Anne mentioned the tree in other diary entries as well. In one of the last passages she wrote before her family was betrayed to the Nazis, she said, “Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.”
A campaign had been launched to save the tree in 2007, after the 27-ton plant was discovered to be in very poor condition. City officials planned to chop it down, however, activists convinced them to support it with a steel structure instead.
Saplings taken from the tree have been planted around the world. However, a Support Anne Frank Tree group member told Reuters that there are no plans in place to replace the fallen tree with one of its saplings as was reported in some media outlets. “You have to bow your head to the facts,” he said. “The tree has fallen and will be cut into pieces and disappear. The intention was not to keep this tree alive forever.”
Parts of the tree have been offered for sale on a Dutch auction website.