I think this is wonderful. I am glad one of the trees is going to be in Boston. Hopefully it will help people to remember and not forget the terrible times that many people suffered because of allowing hate of others.
October 17, 2009 3:07 PM PDT
Maybe looking at a tree grown from the one Anne Frank stared at through the window of her hiding place will lend some perspective amid the country’s “festering of hatred, the lack of tolerance,” said Holocaust survivor Pete Metzelaar, citing current extremes in public demonstrations and the media.
Maybe it will serve as a reminder that “any community is in danger of falling into intolerance,” said Ilana Kennedy, director of education at the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center.
A sapling from that tree will be planted in a meadow at Seattle’s Volunteer Park.
New York City’s Anne Frank Center USA and Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House also awarded saplings to 10 other U.S. locations after it was announced that the original horse chestnut tree was dying and had to be cut down, Kennedy said.
“The tree is meant to be a symbol of tolerance and to remind us of the dangers of intolerance and prejudice,” Kennedy said.
Said Metzelaar, 73, of Seattle: “I think it’s fantastic.”
Long required reading in classrooms around the world, Frank’s diary recounts how the girl stared at the tree while hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II.
After someone betrayed Frank’s family and the others living with them, she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15.
Born in Amsterdam, Metzelaar escaped Frank’s fate after a similar childhood. He and his mother were the only survivors in his family, shielded by a family on a farm for two years and hiding beneath floorboards and in caves during Nazi inspections. The rest of his family was murdered at Auschwitz.
A frequent speaker on the subject for the Holocaust Center, Metzelaar said of the tree’s symbolism, “Without personalizing it, I think it is something from the dark days of the past to the beginning of new life, fulfilling a young girl’s dream of a brighter and more just world of the future.”
The Holocaust Center’s grant proposal — done with Seattle Parks and Recreation — cited the 2006 shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle that left one dead and five injured, Kennedy said.
“Being in Seattle and being so far away from Anne Frank and Amsterdam — to have something like this in Seattle just connects us globally and reminds us that any community is in danger of falling into intolerance,” Kennedy said of the shooting. “I think an act like this came as a surprise to everyone in the area, that something like this could happen in an area that’s known for being so open-minded and liberal.”
The second trial of the gunman in the shooting, Naveed Haq, is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
The sapling will be quarantined for two years after it arrives from Amsterdam, then memorialized with a plaque.
Other recipients of saplings from the Anne Frank House tree were: The White House; The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; Sonoma State University, California; Boston Common, Massachusetts; Holocaust Memorial Center, Michigan; Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial; The National September 11 Memorial & Museum and Southern Cayuga School District in New York; The William J. Clinton Foundation and Central High School, both in Arkansas.