Thursday, February 18, 2016

Anne Frank Tree

I usually walk right by it when I stroll around the Capitol, but for some reason yesterday I did not.

It seemed like nothing more than a fenced-in stick, so slender and insubstantial. But the fencing told me something important must be within — so I took a peek. I learned that the young tree is a sapling from the white chestnut that  grew outside the window of the Secret Annex of the Frank House in Amsterdam.

In May, 1944, less than a year before she would lose her life at the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp, Anne Frank wrote, "Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year."

The tree was brought down by a windstorm in 2010, but its chestnuts were gathered and germinated and the saplings donated. This little twig of a tree was one of its progeny. Here is what its parent meant to Anne:
Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs, 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, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy.

(Photos: Wikipedia, Architect of the Capitol)

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