Anne Frank tree saved from being chopped down

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Anne Frank Tree.
Image: Stephane D'Alu.

A tree known as the Anne Frank Tree, a 150 year-old chestnut tree that was made famous in the writings of Anne Frank's diary, has been saved from being chopped down by a Dutch court.

Frank was a Jewish girl who was hiding from the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II and often referred to the tree as being "comforting" as she looked out the hidden apartment skylight.

Officials for the city of Amsterdam and the Anne Frank Museum state that the tree is infected with a fungus and poses a public health hazard as they argue that it was in imminent danger of falling over. It had been scheduled to be cut down on Tuesday, but was saved after an emergency court ruling.

Judge Jurjen Bade said the tree did not pose an "acute danger" and ruled out what he called "extreme measures," such as cutting it down immediately because conservationists claimed that it could be saved, and the city did not consider other alternatives to cutting it down.

According to the city the tree would have been replaced with an offspring of the original tree.

"We would rather have a young living tree that will be ten meters tall in ten years," said the director of the museum, Hans Westra.

People have even begun to sell the tree's chestnuts on auction websites like eBay where one of the nuts reportedly reached a bid of US$10,000.