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August 23rd, 2010
10:59 AM ET

Tree beloved by Anne Frank falls down

Editor's note: If you've got pictures of the historic Anne Frank tree send them to CNN I-report.  We'll post some of the best ones.  Here's an early submission.

A chestnut tree beloved by Holocaust victim Anne Frank as she wrote her diary in hiding in the Netherlands fell down Monday, the Anne Frank House museum told CNN. The tree, which was more than 150 years old, had been diseased since 2005 and had a support structure to help keep it upright.

But it fell early Monday afternoon, Anne Frank House representative Maatje Mostart said. "It's a pity. It's an important tree," she said. "Anne Frank looked down on it from her hiding place. It was the only piece of nature she could see." "Something went wrong with the support," she added. "Happily it fell the right way. It didn't fall on the secret annex or on a person, so that was a relief for us."

Frank, a teenage girl whose diary of her time in hiding during World War II was published after she died in the Holocaust, mentions the tree three times in her writings. "Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It's covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year," she wrote in May 1944, shortly before she and her family were discovered and deported to concentration camps.

Since the tree was found to be diseased, hundreds of saplings grown from its chestnuts have been donated to schools and parks around the world, the Anne Frank Museum said.

Frank admired the tree from the attic window of the secret annex where her family hid for two years, before being betrayed. "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," she wrote on February 23, 1944. "As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be."

The spring before her family and the others hiding with them were captured, the girl focused on the tree's budding life - and her own.
"Our chestnut tree is already quite greenish and you can even see little blooms here and there," she wrote on April 18, 1944. Two days earlier, she'd recorded her first kiss.

Frank died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen just weeks before the Nazi concentration camp was liberated in 1945. But her name, story and message live on through her diary and, also, through her ailing tree. A fungus had left two-thirds of it hollow, said Anne Frank House spokeswoman Annemarie Bekker. A battle began in late 2007 between city officials who wanted to chop it down and activists who insisted it should stay.

But a court injunction, a second-opinion analysis and a committee mobilization left it standing until Monday, barely alive and supported by steel. The tree was a horse chestnut, which is often called a buckeye tree in the United States and a conker tree in the United Kingdom. Through a project and contest launched last year by the Anne Frank Center USA, a New York-based educational nonprofit working with the museum in Amsterdam, 11 sites in the United States will see Frank's tree blossom. They range from the White House and various museums and memorials to a high school that changed U.S. history. A handful of winning applications were driven by youth inspired by Frank– who would be 80 if she'd survived - and her diary.

One girl in Boston, Massachusetts,12-year-old Aliyah Finkel, felt an immediate connection to the writer, so much so that she chose to have her bat mitzvah - the coming of age ceremony for Jewish girls - in the synagogue Frank's family attended in Amsterdam before they went into hiding. "It wasn't just a diary written by some person, it was written by a 13-year-old girl," Finkel said. "I was interested in the story of her life. She had so much hope. There are some parts [of the diary] that are really sad, but it's more inspiring." With the help of her family, and contacts they have with local officials, Finkel's inspired push will bring a tree to Boston Common and lessons about tolerance to the city's public schools.

Farther South, a public school in Arkansas, the only one in the nation to become a national historic site, will also see an Anne Frank tree bloom. Little Rock Central High School senior John Allen Riggins, 17, heard about the contest last summer while listening to National Public Radio. His school was racially integrated in 1957 by the "Little Rock Nine," a development that proved a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement. An avid follower of history and politics, Riggins saw parallels between Anne Frank's legacy and that of the Arkansas students. "From all across the world, in different time periods and different social struggles, young people have been caught up in history and these social tensions have come down upon them," Riggins said. "Anne Frank was 14 when she was hiding, and the youngest of the nine was 14."

For Elaine Leeder, it was in many ways her father's youth, and by extension her own, that made her reach out for a part of the tree. The dean of social sciences at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, Leeder is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Her father lost his mother, sister and brother when they were taken to a pit outside their Lithuanian village and gunned down along with about 2,000 other Jews. "The shades were always drawn in my house. We were afraid of neighbors," she said, describing the legacy she carried. "I became a genocide scholar over the years because of my personal story."

The sapling she competed for will be nurtured in the university's Holocaust Camp; Genocide Memorial Grove, where genocides across time are remembered. Beside it will be a sign quoting Frank: "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Much of what his daughter wrote came as a surprise to Otto Frank, the family's sole survivor. He retrieved the diary and eventually published it after World War II. More than 30 million copies have been sold.

In a speech he gave in 1968, according to the Anne Frank House, he spoke of the reactions he had upon first reading his daughter's words. "How could I have suspected that it meant so much to Anne to see a patch of blue sky, to observe the gulls during their flight and how important the chestnut tree was to her, as I recall that she never took an interest in nature," he said. "But she longed for it during that time when she felt like a caged bird."

It turns out the saplings selected for sites in the United States are caged themselves. When they arrived in the country in December, the young trees were seized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because of sicknesses ravaging horse chestnuts in Europe, the trees will remain in quarantine for three years.

But even as the original tree finally falls, pieces of it are growing strong, reaching for blue skies and welcoming birds across the globe - a living legacy to a girl who understood what life could promise.

Editor's Note: Belief Blog contributor Jess Ravitz posted an indepth look at the tree earlier. Check it out here

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Europe • Judaism

soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Jews weren't the only ones killed in the holocaust.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Ray

      The Jew Lazar Kaganovich oversaw the murder of millions of white Christians in a holocaust that dwarfs anything attributed to Hitler. Google "Holodomor."

      August 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  2. James Morgan

    the tree, like any other living thing.. must come to an end. It is Anne Frank's words (and message) that will live on, and so she will be remembered as she teaches us humanity. I hope that the replacement of another Chestnut (a decendant of that tree.. hopefully) will be done.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  3. Woody

    I stood next to that tree just two years ago ! Hard to believe today what all happened at that location. I am glad I was there before it fell.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  4. summarex

    It had rotted from the inside....

    August 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Matt McHugh

    "...hundreds of saplings grown from its chestnuts have been donated to schools and parks around the world..."

    A very fitting tribute. Time to let this one tree go the way of all living things.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Joe M

    Only God is good, evil already existed. Beg God for Mercy.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • David Johnson

      There isn't any god, Joe. Show me proof.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Joe M

      David, you are the proof there is a God, for you are wonderfully made.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • No god

      @Joe if we are all "wonderfully made", as you say, why do some people need plastic surgery? Just a question.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • nobody

      nobody wrote this post. some atoms just randomly collided and formed letters on the screen. then, POOF! the post came into existence! ok, you certainly don't believe that. tell me then, even if someone needs plastic surgery, how in the world can you postulate that a human being, who's lungs function properly to bring oxygen into the body, transfer it across specialized alveoli sacs into the bloodstream, and exhale carbon dioxide, who's heart pumps all day, circulating blood through the body and into the lungs for gas exchange, who's brain is capable of sending complex messages all over the body, allowing you to even choose tho lift your fingers and type that your creator doesn't exist, who can digest food, and excrete toxins... even if no more than one of these functions existed, and a machine was doing the rest, the fact that a human is not an amologus blob is scientifically fascinating. after all, each cell in your body is made up of the same genetic material. AND YOU SAY THERE IS NO CREATOR????????? tell me, did any woman you know INSTRUCT each cell of her developing fetus to develop specificity? even intercellular signaling is fascinating, because once again, all the cells, by virtue of their identical genetic makeup, are identical, and SHOULD all be giving the same signal. how could this be if there was no creator. Listen, next time you go to the bathroom, instead of thinking about everything that has gone wrong in your life, take a moment to consider the consequences of your urethra closing up, or any hollow organ in your body (veins, kidneys, etc...). then tell me, when everything has to exist in such a fine balance to prevent such an unfortunate occurrence, why in the world were you just able to pee? maybe, instead of looking for everything wrong, thank G-D for what is right.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • Luke

      Joe M – Well, we are actually very poorly made when you break it down. Our backs tend to wear out after time. Anyone with back pain knows what I'm talking about. Also, our vision is terrible when compared to other animals. Most of need corrective lenses too! Our teeth don't fit in our jaws – nearly all of us have our wisdom teeth removed around age 20. We also have plenty of useless things on and in our bodies including an appendix and hair everywhere (I'm pretty hairy, but my wife likes it!). We are also very defenseless without our tools. If left in the wild, we'd die very very quickly compared to our primate cousins. We have no armor, have fragile bodies, no camouflage and no means of staying warm without building something with tools.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Luke

      nobody – I would like to introduce you to a biology book.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • nobody

      I'll be glad to meet your biology book... after you get a 40 on the MCATS, go to columbia university medical school, and pass stage one of the USMLE...

      August 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Luke

      nobody – I'm not a doctor. I am an economist. I will happily show you how you are wrong by providing the book, however.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Zach

      @nobody

      Your post is a curious thing – You write like you've been studying the human body, but your writing is incoherent. You even bluff Luke into thinking you're some kind of hot sh!t medical student.
      I call BS on you, nobody. (and it's hard to type that without laughing)
      I do not believe that you are a medical student.

      May you find peace and happiness anyway. 🙂

      August 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      @nobody and Luke

      I am a Biologist by education, so I know what Luke is talking about AND what nobody is talking about. However, despite the wonderous-ness of the inner-workings of all life on Earth, there is nothing in that wonderous-ness to say a God is necessary for its existence.

      You either take God on faith or you take no-God on faith. It's always faith.

      August 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  7. Kate

    Ummm ... why has the demise of a historical tree suddenly become a debate about the existence of God?

    *12* Million died in the Holocaust – 6 million Jews, 6 million others. "Gods Chosen People" is irrelevant when you remember that – I don't believe Israel has taken the Mormon solution up and made those other 6 million posthumous Jews.

    Evil is evil – that particular evil was about race and culture, as *well* as religion.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  8. renuel

    AGENT007: Well said.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  9. AGENT007

    Humanking through out history has found ways to justify it's actions with religion, the Holocaust was a terrible "man made" event that leaves God out of it. He does not stop evil, he gives us free will and it is up to us to choose to do good or evil.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @AGENT007

      You said, "Humanking through out history has found ways to justify it's actions with religion, the Holocaust was a terrible "man made" event that leaves God out of it. He does not stop evil, he gives us free will and it is up to us to choose to do good or evil."

      If god is all knowing, there is no free will. Everything is predestined.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      @ David Johnson

      He KNEW you were going to say that! ]:>

      August 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  10. ah

    Realy Luke (and Steven Weinberg)?
    So of what relegion was Stalin, or Mao Zedong or Pol Pot?

    August 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
    • Desparye

      And of what religion was Hitler?

      August 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Luke

      Desparye – We're unsure of Hitler's religion. He was raised Catholic and the Nazi Army wore crosses, but we don't know exactly what he believed. More importantly, his army was Catholic and Protestant.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • Luke

      ah – And Mao was most certainly religiousless, but he didn't kill in the name of atheism. He killed because he was purely evil and for political gain, territory expansion, etc. Same with Stalin. The link isn't there like it is with examples such as the Inquisition and the Crusades, which were done in the name of god.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Eric

      My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

      -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

      August 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Regertz

      What can one say except to note that Adolf Hitler frequently made it clear he sneered at religion. Christ or Joshua bar Joseph never rejected the Jewish people-that was the action of those who hijacked his message and claimed to speak for him in order to further their own agendas. Hitler, pathetic, fanatic wuss emerging at the right time, merely followed in those footsteps. I can only hope in Hell Hitler must live every life he took and suffer every agony he inflicted.

      Yes, yes...Stalin too...I know Mr. Buchanan. But you're still wrong about cutting a deal with Hitler.

      August 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      I think very little killing has anything to do with religion and 100% to do with power. Religion is just used by some as a justification for their actions.

      August 24, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  11. bunnymont

    The Steven Weinberg quote says it all, brillant.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  12. renuel

    @Luke:
    Good quote. In my opinion, religion is not the same as God....religion is a concept invented by man in order to control societies values, social orders, etc. Although, if I agreed with the quote..one might say for bad people to do well-that takes religion.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • Luke

      While the phrasing would make sense, that doesn't justify the means. That is, without religion, we'd still have good people doing well and bad people doing evil. To justify it by saying bad people would then do good by opening the door to good people doing evil just gets us going in circles. That's the point of the quote; remove religion from the equation, and we still have good people doing good, and bad people doing bad.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  13. Bubba

    We'll put on the play in March, and Anne Frank will live again for an hour.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Kathleen

      My daughter's drama class just did 6 shows of "The Diary of Anne Frank". People cried at the end of each performance. It is a powerful story. Good luck to your group for a successful production.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  14. Joe M

    Actually, there is no such thing as good people and evil people. If there is any good in this world, thats due to the
    mercy of God.

    August 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • CMD

      You're wrong, dude. There is such a thing as good people. We all start out that way, at least. Go read your Bible: Genesis 1:27-31 God created humans male and female in his own image, blessed and saw that what He had created was "very good".

      "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

      August 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Joe M

      So CMD, are you good.
      Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good – except God alone." ... Only God deserves to be called good
      Thats what the bible says.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Eli

      lol. CDM, it also says "ki yetzer leiv adam ra menurav – the form of man's heart is evil from it's youth" our job is to perfect it and use what we were given to CHOOSE good, despite an inclination towards evil.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    • Joe M

      And, have you managed to perfect it, Eli ?

      August 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Mike Honcho

      The bible is a work of fiction; written by men from their own imaginations. You might as well be quoting Harry Potter.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • AustinBaby

      I agree, Mike Honcho. Still don't understand why people still take things from that book so literally yet ignore other parts.

      Sad about the tree. If you were apart of that horrible time, something as insignificant as a tree can mean more than any words the bible can say. I think they just want people to not forget what happened and if they can get a little of that tree to grow all over the world, that is just simply beautiful.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  15. David Johnson

    @renuel

    You said, "It doesn't prove there isn't a God...just that there is evil."

    It proves there is no advantage to being a god's chosen people.

    I have heard Jewish people themselves say, "God must have been sleeping, during the murder of 6 million jews".

    August 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • renuel

      Many other peoples have been murdered to extinction and genocide continues to take place today. God's chosen people have survived and overcame such atrocities of evil...reclaimed their homeland–against all odds. I would say there is a great advantage to being God's chosen people.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @renuel

      No advantage to the 6 million who died in the Holocast.

      It isn't god who is keeping the state of Israel. It is the US. Cheers!

      August 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • moondoggie

      Perhaps it was not God that did the choosing. Maybe the people chose to believe in one God at a time when the belief in many gods was all there was.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Eli

      so don't convert. only those who can understand the greatness of having a connection to G-D, despite the fact that the nations of the world will hate us and seek to kill us (and often succeed), can be Jews. In fact, a conversion that doesnt\'t include an admonition of just this fact, is not a valid conversion.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Eric

      Right. Every day, there is an unbelievable amount of suffering happening in the world: torture, rape, starvation, war, etc. Child armies and organized gang rape in parts of Africa; starvation on North Kora; torture in secret and not so secret prisons all over the world; suicide bombings, the list goes on and on. But for some reason so many people in this country think making sure two gay people in love can't get married is the most important to the all mighty.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • Zack

      @Eli

      Just read your own post a few times. If you don't see the silly assumptions you are making...oy!

      August 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bob

      @Renuel So you claim there must be some advantage to being God's chosen people? What about those peoples who have had a comparitively better life then the Jews? By your logic shouldn't they be "more chosen" because God didn't inflict such horrible trials upon them?

      Here's a thought. Maybe crap just happens. And maybe, just maybe, people invent God so that they can feel in control of things that are out of their control. Lots of security in that.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • Desert Sky

      Why do people refer to God as if God's a person? God is beyond what the human mind can ever comprehend.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
    • Regertz

      In "Ran" the final scene features one of the characters telling one cursing the gods for tormenting Mankind to stop and understand that the gods are helplessly weeping over Mankind killing one another. I don't know if there is a God, but if what torment It must undergo if It has chosen to give us complete freedom of will and can now only watch us. God forgive our crimes against such childrean as Anne, the Rwandan children, the innocent kids of Africa, the children of Russia and Iraq and Vietnam. We do not deserve the mercy we are shown daily.

      August 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  16. MaryM

    Ann Frank's story is sad but this is not a story.

    August 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • God

      You're a horrible person. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • moondoggie

      Why ISN'T this a story? It is interesting to many people. News? Maybe not to you, but it isn't on the news page, it is on the belief blog, now isn't it?

      August 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • fashionista

      @moondoggie apparently you have too much time on your hands doggie. Do you need a potty break? I got a leash that will fit you. with a CHOKER collar!

      August 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Guy

      It's just a tree, but 4 months ago I stood in the attic of the annex and looked out the same window that Anne Frank did and saw the top of that same tree that she could see, and it was an incredibly moving experience.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Sam

      I disagree. It's a story, and a ridiculous one.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Rebecca

      Let me guess, your one of those people that thinks reality T.V is actual reality right? Your pathetic.

      August 24, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • Erin

      How is this a "ridiculous" story? There are obviously a lot of people who do care even if you are not one of them. That makes it a story. Besides, the headline was pretty self-explanatory. If you don't care that the tree died, then don't click the link.

      August 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  17. Bob

    So what if the tree fell? Who cares? It's a tree. The events around Anne Frank's life is what is important. If you need to look at a tree to feel the connection to the person, you've missed the point entirely of the writings.

    August 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      You said, "If you need to look at a tree to feel the connection to the person, you've missed the point entirely of the writings."

      I remember several articles on the bones of John the Baptist being found. We have a shroud that is fake, but who cares. The foreskin of Christ was said to be magic. – My point is, people like to have have objects that belonged or were loved by a person who they love.

      When dealing with religious relics, I think it helps to soothe disbelief. LOL

      Even Anne Frank isn't important. She was just one of probably more than a million children who were murdered. As you say, her writings are what makes her special. She wrote about a tree she loved. I think she would have wanted the tree to live. But, I think she would like the idea of the saplings living on. Cheers!

      August 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • hoboken

      no, I think you missed the point: Metaphore, sympolism. The tree lived its life well; and for Anne Frank, it was her symbol of hope, the cycle of life. It's always sad to say goodbye when a loved one passes away. That tree is just as much a part of Anne Frank's life, as her family. There is grief for the loss of old friends, just as there is hope in its next generations.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bob

      @David Johnson You are comparing apples and oranges. People go to the museum to be connected to her. The shroud is used as "proof" of their faith. Totally different things.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Ila

      I read her diary when I was a teenager in New Zealand but it took going to the place where she hid and looking at what she saw to feel connected to her as a human being and not just a character. It's a great idea to be distributing the seeds around the world and just a little sad that piece of history isn't there anymore. I think this is a great story and as always, a reminder of history and its relevance to the world we live in today.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Chainsaw McGraw

      If a tree falls in a city and no one really cares, does it make a sound?

      August 24, 2010 at 6:59 am |
    • countrygirl

      You are an idiot! You evidentally do not care about history in the least. THERE IS A GOD btw! I hate that anyone...Jews and all other religions...had to die because of someone that had a sick mind. I love reading about Anne Frank. She was one brave person. I hope that these saplings that have been distributed live a very long time so that she will always be remembered.

      PEACE FOREVER...

      August 24, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • Kate

      @Chainsaw

      If a tree fell on a philosopher in a forest, would anyone care?

      August 24, 2010 at 10:00 am |
    • Rebecca

      It is disturbing that you have some how managed to miss the entire point of the article! That tree was a historical monument, one that played an important part in one of the most critical pieces of literature from the time! Yes, Anne's life is whats important, but we should note that that tree was part of her life! She spent her hidden time staring at wishing to share it's freedom! And it is highly insensitive that you could say it is unimportant! REALLY! What have you done in your life? Have you even ever taken a step back to observe the wonder of Earth? or have you just overlooked it as unimportant? I doubt you would feel the same if you were Anne in a place were you couldn't even breath clean air, let alone see a tree or grass or anything! JEEZ!

      August 24, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  18. Kate

    Time seems to be taking away even more of the history of the dark times, not just the witnesses and survivors 🙁

    I didn't know about the saplings being distributed.

    August 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • peace2all

      Agreed.... I did not know about the saplings either.....

      Peace....

      August 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  19. peace2all

    Oh, what to say on this one........ other than, what a shame...... too sad. No, god seemingly involved here. Maybe he decided this wasn't his territory..

    Peace....

    August 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • renuel

      God is very seemingly involved. The Jewish people were saved and a few years later established the State of Israel. Evil causes evil.

      August 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • DNA

      Excuse me, but my god doesn't care about political boundaries... especially the ones people kill each other over.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • peace2all

      @renuel

      1)Which Jewish people were saved....? I believe, ...what..... 6 or 7 MILLION of them were murdered before your god, apparently stepped in. He-your god.... certainly took his sweet time about stopping this whole mess.

      2)Does not prove that their is a god, just because the rest were saved.

      Peace.....

      August 23, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • Gary

      The story of Job in the Old Testament Bible provides a way to understand the role evil plays in the world. Job's faith is tested by evil events. God answers Job's question of why did evil things happen by a series of questions illustrating Job's real place in the universe. God rewards Job's faith.

      August 24, 2010 at 9:46 am |
    • Brsas Pair

      I hardly consider the state of israel evil.

      August 24, 2010 at 10:08 am |
    • LRoy

      According to this story the tree was over 150 years old, so the tree had to be close to 100 in Anne Frank's time.

      I'm questioning why there was nothing done that could've "cured" the tree of the fungus when it was first discovered. Does Holland not have tree surgeons?

      Yes, it is sad that Anne's tree finally fell, but it was a disaster waiting to happen once it got "sick". The tree could have felled years ago. Why it fell at this particular time, only God knows.

      BTW-According to Catholic faith, ALL living things created by God (and that includes plants and animals) have souls but only humans have souls that are immortal.

      August 24, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • pennylane

      thank you anne,peace and happiness to all living creatures

      August 24, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • bob

      "my god". precisely how wars began. always the "my god" better than yours concept. odd, though, how all religions preach the same basic message yet their congregations don't see it. please thank your god for bringing the blight of war unto this world.

      August 25, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  20. David Johnson

    "Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It's covered with leaves and is even
    more beautiful than last year," she wrote in May 1944, shortly before she and
    her family were discovered and deported to concentration camps.

    Oh yeah, there's a god. *Laughing to keep from crying*

    August 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • renuel

      It doesn't prove there isn't a God...just that there is evil.

      August 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bob

      Of course it doesn't prove the existence (or lack thereof) of God. It only shows that God is incredibly fickle. I mean, let hundreds of thousands of Jews die, no problem. The Dallas Cowboys aren't winning in the super bowl? I need to step in here.

      August 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Luke

      I don't normally quote people on these blogs, renuel, but no one has said it better than Steven Weinberg regarding the topic of evil, so I will let him speak for me. "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion."

      August 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
      • Chainsaw McGraw

        Awesome quote Luke! That says it all!

        August 24, 2010 at 10:09 am |
    • Luke

      Bob – Hundreds of thousands? Six million, Bob. Six million. So many that there are essentially no Jews left in Poland.

      August 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • FmeThatsfine

      @Luke

      Wow. That is a great quote...It should be printed on a t-shirt and bumper-stickers...

      ...I may get it printed on my a**-kicking boots...

      August 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • duryea

      Thank God you were not one of the people in hiding with Anne Frank because you would have made certain that she had no hope of a happier outcome.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Alvin

      Well, all else apart from God is evil so it's true. The world isn't 'good' in nature but rather 'evil'. Any good of this world comes from God so we should all be seeking it.

      August 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
      • Chainsaw McGraw

        So where was this so called "good" when the Holocaust was taking place? Where was the "good" on 9-11-01? Where was the "good" during the Bubonic Plague? Where was the "good" on 12/26/04? Or from 12/2/84-12/3/84? Yes, I am picking larger events, but if you so choose, I can pick smaller lesser known incidents...David Berkowitz. Also, please help to explain Kach, Kahane Chai or the JDL?

        August 24, 2010 at 10:24 am |
        • Chainsaw McGraw

          That last post is in repsonse to the post by Alvin at August 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm.
          Apparently the reply button is not longer working

          August 24, 2010 at 10:27 am |
        • Kate

          @Chainsaw

          Some of the "good"?

          Raul Wallenberg, the family that hid the Franks, Oskar Schindler, a long list of people Israel recognizes as Righteous (I think?) for their efforts during the Holocaust.

          The first responders, firemen, cops, medics, and volunteers who went up the stairs on 9/11 when everyone who could was coming down them,

          Katrina, the surrounding NDN reservations sent their own teams into the hardest hit areas to help while FEMA was sitting around waiting.

          The good during such evil times always seems so small in comparison to the events themselves – no-one even bothers to remember Raul Wallenberg, no-one has looked for what happened to him after the Russians took him at the end of WW2. But each individual act of kindness and bravery, each "good" no matter how small, is a victory against the darkness of the event – it's normal people doing extraordinary things during horrific times.

          That's the "good". We can't forget those any more than we can forget the events themselves.

          August 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • Jessica

      At least 6 million non-jews died too...not that anyone cares to acknowledge that it wasnt just jews dying.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • Jim

      You completely misunderstand what religeon is about. Your modern day thinking equates that if there is a god then nothing bad will ever happen. Religeon is a method to cope with our world and the trials that we all endure, as well as a guidepost to help direct our morals.

      Such self-serving cynacism is what is wrong the world today. Had you been in this little girls' shoes you would have felt nothing but self-pity and hatred whereas she found beauty and joy where she could.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • Mary

      Bravo Jim! Well said.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • EternalBliss

      @Luke.... in Reality.. there is no good nor is there any bad.. these are subjective views of the relative human mind based identities polluted with biases.... good or evil.. it makes no difference which side you are on as each thinks it is good and the other is evil.. hence what is the difference.. the only fact is ...that the ignorance of mankind keeps us constantly divided rather then united..

      August 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • Luke

      Jessica – Yes, of course you are only partially correct though. Hitler's army killed 10-12M people, 6-7M of which were Jews. However, it is important to understand that of these people, the Jews were the only ones targeted for religious views by a strictly Christian army while the Catholic church did nothing and only participated in saving Jews that agreed to be Baptized.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • twr2422

      HOW INSENSITIVE.....

      August 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • GrandchildofWWIIVets

      Hitlers Army was Christian White men, but an Army of mixed religions came together to defeat his army. I wonder when the people of this world will remember that good things happen when we all just agree to disagree about religion (or the lack there of). I am completely sick of this religion against another and this political group against the other. Get over it.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • C

      why is this even news... who cares about a stupid tree...

      August 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • sheppard

      You know, Luke, just because YOU say no one says it better than Weinberg, doesn't make it so.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Luke

      sheppard – am I not entitled to my opinion regarding the discussion of good and evil? This is my opinion very clearly and you can disagree. Indeed – show me a good counter-argument. I've read dozens of books and good vs evil, and nothing in my opinion ever overtook this simple phrasing. Please; indulge my thirst for knowledge.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • GregG

      If you are ever in a desperately hopeless situation where every breath you take may be your last, let's see what you say about a God then. Frank's belief in a God helped her endure those terrible times. Whether or not there is a God didn't really matter.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bull

      The tree was 150 years old.It's time was up.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bob

      @Luke Hundreds of Thousands can actually quantify 6 million. It requires 60 of them. Hence the plural usage of the term hundreds of thousands. Thanks for coming out.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Luke

      Bob – It's just poor grammar, Bob. The implication of your statement undermines the significance of the larger picture. I could easily say dozens and assume you would make the connection that it would take 500,000 dozens, but the point is not made by the author to the reader. Thanks for coming out.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • leggs67

      If there is a god he she certainly must not possess anything that could be reasonably recognized as mind or conscience. Consider Epicurus' thoughts on GOD in the presence of evil:
      Is He willing to stop it but unable? Then He is impotent.
      Is He able to stop it but unwilling? Then He is malevolent.
      Is He willing and able? Then whence is the evil?

      August 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • Mark

      I recall William Styron contemplating this in his novel Sophie's Choice, where he said (I am paraphrasing) that we need to not ask where was God, but where was Man....That to me is the more pertinent question here.

      We can still read her diary as a testament to courage under terrible circumstances, and only wonder what other treasures she would have created.

      But she gave us her story; only one amongst the millions.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • Roadhunter

      GreG, you have a point. Fear has turned a lot of people toward an imaginary friend in the sky for help. They beg, they plead, they pray, they make promises, and, in the end, they could have turned to a lump of dirt and gotten the same results.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • James

      Since we're quoting here, let me quote C.S. Lewis: “God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having”

      August 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jim

      @ Roadhunter,

      Everyone has their own way of dealing with life. I am not advocating the existence of god. True relgeon is a way of looking spirtually at our world, and finding a way to cope with the circumstances we find ourselves in during life. Nothing lasts forever, but it is our outlook on the inevitable and how we conduct ourselves and act during our lifetimes that make us who we are and can immortalize us on Earth through others. Whether you choose to believe in a higher being or purpose is up to every individual, but to simply act out of self-interest and contempt for others is what breeds true evil. But that is what all major religeons teach when you get through the organizations that support them. If we act with compassion and wonder for our world we really do make the world a better place be it for a single person, a community or for a larger population.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Sam

      Eh who cares. Its just an old dying tree. I wont be losing any sleep tonight.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • ed ryan

      I was born just 2 blocks away from Anne Franks hiding place. I have seen the tree for the past 60 years. It is sad to see the connection gone. So many relatives suffered. Still this little girl will always be remembered.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Regertz

      Jessica, many people remember the other six million...And don't forget Hitler caused the death of 20 million Russians as well. But, as a Catholic born, like Hitler, God curse his miserable soul, I have to note the special viciousness of the Holocaust in hounding an innocent people to death, including many loyal Germans of the Jewish faith who ironically worked to save Germany in WWI and would have fought as hard for her in WWII if given the chance. Acknowledging that antiSemitism may their murders easier doesn't deny that Poles and Russians were next on the list of this demented maniac.

      Understanding is the key. Hitler made Jewish citizens of every European nation outcasts in order to kill them more easily. Politicians of hate do that everywhere, including in America. Don't close your soul to this lesson, Jessica.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • saganhill

      Alvin, god is not good and satan is not evil. Those are mythilogical stereotypes you and others have made up over the past 2000+ years. Sinse there is no god, the whole good and evil argument is left to what humans are capable of doing to each other. I doubt very much that Hitler any supernatural influence on anything he did as he was just an evil man and thats it.

      The quicker humans move on away from this notion of god or gods the better.

      August 24, 2010 at 8:27 am |
    • DB

      Think there is God? What do you think the 6M Jewish victims thought all along? Think what Christian families did to get troops home safely? More than 6M died. So was Hitler worth more than 12M lives (God could have given him a stroke)? Is Christian God weaker (more Christians died)? Neither of these. We all were responsible for letting Hitler live and commit the crimes.

      August 24, 2010 at 8:57 am |
    • Lee

      Jessica, that is not true.... Meir Sharim (the Holocaust Museum in Israel), and every other Museum recognizes the all of the other people that were murdered as well (Mental patients, Homosexuals, people who helped the Jews, the list goes on).

      The Jewish Holiday Yom HaShoah mourns for all those who were murdered...

      The important lesson in this is that Time will hide all of man's atrocities, education will remind us and hopefully prevent repetition.

      August 24, 2010 at 9:19 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.