Anne Frank Tree Granted Reprieve

By: Gloria Riviera, ABC News
By: Gloria Riviera, ABC News

In Amsterdam, an important part of Anne Frank's life while she hid from the Nazis during World War II is causing controversy.

There's a last- minute court battle to save a Chestnut Tree, some say is as much a part of history as the young Anne's haunting diary.

"As long as this tree exists," wrote Anne Frank in 1944, "I cannot be unhappy."

63-years later, her beloved tree is not faring well.

Tests show only 28-percent of the trunk is still healthy.

Even those who work at the Anne Frank House fear it could fall.

"There is no guarantee from no one that there is no threat for the people who work in the Anne Frank House, or the Secret Annex," said Hans Westra, Anne Frank museum director.

The City Council voted to have the tree cut down.

That's when what some call "all the ruckus," and others call "a crusade," began.

Conservationists argued steel cables could prolong the tree's life by decades.

The judge hearing their case made a personal visit to the 150-year-old tree .

At the last minute, he gave the group more time.

"A year long now we asked the local government, please give us the opportunity to look into the alternative," said Edwin Koot, of the Netherlands Tree Institute.

The tree was Anne's link to the outside world. She marked time by its leaves.

Whether it is now time to let go, is a decision it seems no one wants to make.

The Anne Frank Museum has said a sapling from the original can be planted to replace the tree, but messages have come in from all over the world from those who aren't ready to part with one of the last living symbols of Anne Frank's ordeal.

Anne Frank's diary was originally published in 1947.

The diary has been published in numerous languages and to date, there are several films, theatrical productions, and even an opera, based on the popular literary work.


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