Court to decide fate of "Anne Frank tree"

20th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 November 2007, AMSTERDAM - A court in Amsterdam convened Tuesday to decide the fate of the so-called Anne Frank tree - a chestnut tree in the garden opposite the Annex where the young Jewish girl hid during World War II.

20 November 2007

AMSTERDAM - A court in Amsterdam convened Tuesday to decide the fate of the so-called Anne Frank tree - a chestnut tree in the garden opposite the Annex where the young Jewish girl hid during World War II.

The tree is estimated to be between 150 and 170 years old and is considered one of the oldest trees in Amsterdam.

The Jewish teenager Anne Frank described the chestnut tree in her famous diary which she penned while hiding in the Annex with her family and four other Jews during World War II.

The chestnut tree is private property, but the city of Amsterdam has ordered it to be felled in the interests of public safety. The tree has been ill for a prolonged period of time. Several attempts to revive it have failed.

On 6 March, the city of Amsterdam city gave the owner of the tree a licence to cut it down.

The Anne Frank Foundation, which maintains the former Annex as a museum on Anne Frank and the persecution of the Jews, has adopted a neutral stance.

A spokesman for the foundation said that although it regrets that the tree has to be cut down, it understands public safety comes first, unlike several neighbours - the Bomenstichting, or Tree Foundation, for one - who are opposed to felling the tree.

They argue the tree could still be saved and may live for up to another 100 more years.

On Monday, the Bomenstichting did another test on the tree to prove that it was still strong.

The protesters and the Bomenstichting jointly sued the municipality of Amsterdam. A so-called administration court, which settles conflicts between citizens and administrative authorities, will now hear both sides.

The hearing could last between 10 minutes and four hours. If the court does not reach a verdict on Tuesday, it may order the felling of the tree scheduled for this Wednesday, to be postponed.

A total of eight Jews hid in the Annex between 1942 and 1944 until they were betrayed in August 1944.

The Germans subsequently deported them to concentration camps, where some were killed and others succumbed following starvation and illness.

Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father, was the only survivor. After the war, Miep Gies, who provided the group with basic necessities while in hiding, gave him the diary his youngest daughter Anne wrote during that period.

Following its publication in 1947, the diary of Anne Frank became one of the most famous documents recounting the Nazi persecution of the Jews during World War II. It has been translated into several languages.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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