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Sapling from Anne Frank's tree to be planted in Boston Common

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  May 24, 2013 02:51 PM

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A sapling from the tree that stood outside the secret annex where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II will soon be planted in Boston Common.

Boston was one of 11 communities chosen by the Anne Frank Center USA’s Anne Frank Sapling Project to receive a sapling from the nearly 200-year-old horse chestnut tree that towered behind the Secret Annex where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis from 1942 to 1944.

The sapling plantings are part of a national education initiative "Confronting Intolerance Today: Lessons from Anne Frank" by the Anne Frank Center USA.

The selected locations either embody Anne’s unwavering belief in equality, demonstrate the horrific consequences of intolerance in all of its forms, or showcase historic events in civil rights and social justice in the United States.

“As the saplings take root, they will become living symbols of justice and tolerance in America for many years to come,” Yvonne Simons, the center’s executive director, said in a statement. “The message of tolerance will spread from these 11 communities across the country, joining these historical examples of hatred and discrimination with contemporary issues.”

Frank mentions gazing at the tree, which fell in a windstorm in 2010, in her famous diary, writing: “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 sea gulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. … I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

Thirty-four organizations submitted proposals to plant saplings in their communities, but it was 15-year-old Aliyah Finkel of Brookline who helped bring a sapling to Boston Common as part of a student project.

“I am pleased to have played a small part in bringing the sapling to Boston Common,” Finkel said in a statement. “I learned about the Anne Frank Tree project while preparing for my Bat Mitzvah three years ago and felt that, given Boston’s important role in establishing liberty, freedom and tolerance as fundamental precepts for this country, Boston Common was a perfect spot for one of these historic trees.”

Finkel will join Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Dutch Deputy Counsel General Yvette Daoud, Hilary Eddy Stipelman of the Anne Frank Center USA, Boston Public Library president Amy E. Ryan, and Roderik Rodermondof Air France KLM in the Americas for the ceremonial planting and unveiling of the tree on Boston Common at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4.

The sapling will be planted on along the Mayor’s Walk between Soldiers and Sailors Memorial and the Earl of Sandwich Café.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have this sapling from the same tree that gave Anne Frank so much peace and hope,” Menino said in a statement. “Her history joins our history on Boston Common and new life will bloom in Anne’s memory as this tree grows and provides inspiration and beauty to future generations.”

The Boston Public Library will host a variety of events in June connected to the Anne Frank Sapling Project, including a program on intolerance and discrimination, a personal diary workshop for teens, a children’s art project, and teen book club discussions.

The library is also launching a webpage of online resources dedicated to Frank.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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