Anne Frank tree gets court reprieve

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Alderman wants stay on felling of Anne Frank tree.

21 November 2007

AMSTERDAM - A court in Amsterdam ruled Tuesday evening that the so-called Anne Frank tree will not be felled for the time being.

The horse chestnut tree in the garden opposite the Annex where the young Jewish girl hid during World War II is reckoned to be between 150 and 170 years old - one of the oldest trees in Amsterdam.

It sits in the garden of a canal house on Amsterdam's Keizersgracht that is overlooked by the annex the Frank family hid in with four other Jews during World War II and which has been turned into a museum.

Anne Frank described the tree in her famous diary which she penned while hiding in the Annex with her family and

"We both looked up to the blue sky, the horse chestnut whose bare branches glittered with droplets, the gulls and the other birds that seemed made of silver as they swooped by. All of this moved us so much that we could not speak," Anne Frank wrote in her diary on 23 February 1944.

The Amsterdam municipality granted the owner of the garden where the tree stands a licence to fell it in April.

The tree is besieged by fungi and experts have said it is too diseased to recover, but several people fighting to save the chestnut disagree.

All parties have now agreed to wait for the rescue plans. The current owner of the tree wants to cut it down because he is liable under Dutch law for any damage it will do when it is blown down, which is not an unlikely scenario as tests show 41 percent of the chestnut is rotten.

A group of private citizens and the Bomenstichting tree foundation had requested the court to order a stop to the cutting until further investigation had established whether this was really necessary.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

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