From: Reuters
Published January 23, 2008 07:09 AM

Plan agreed to save Anne Frank tree from the axe

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch officials and conservationists have reached a deal to save the tree that brought comfort to Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis, prolonging its life by up to 15 years.

Conservationists won a court injunction in November stopping the city of Amsterdam from cutting down the diseased horse chestnut, which officials feared could topple over and crash into the secret annex where the Jewish teenager hid.

In a statement on Wednesday, city authorities, residents, the Anne Frank museum and conservationists said they had agreed to build a frame around the 150-year-old tree before the end of May.

"That means the tree can stay standing for a minimum of five to 15 years," they said. "A multi-year plan will be drawn up to keep an eye on its condition and safety."

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Anne Frank mentioned the tree several times in the diary she wrote as she hid in a concealed attic until her family was betrayed to the Nazis in 1944. She died in a concentration camp in 1945, shortly before the end of the war.

"This is not just any tree. The Anne Frank tree is bound up with the persecution of the Jews," Arnold Heertje, a member of the Support Anne Frank Tree foundation, told ANP news agency.

Under the deal, the foundation will take over responsibility for the towering 27-tonne tree from the city and raise the 50,000 euros ($73,090) needed to pay for the frame.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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