Mayor Thomas M. Menino is pleased to announce that a sapling descended from a horse chestnut tree which stood outside Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam will be planted on Boston Common and unveiled during a ceremony being held at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have this sapling from the same tree that gave Anne Frank so much peace and hope,” Mayor Menino said. “Her history joins our history on Boston Common and new life will bloom in Anne’s memory as this tree grows and provides inspiration and beauty to future generations.”
The Anne Frank Sapling Project came to life in 2009, when The Anne Frank Center USA awarded Boston and ten other sites saplings derived from the nearly 200-year-old horse chestnut tree that towered behind the Secret Annex where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis from 1942 to 1944. As Anne gazed out the attic window, the tree not only comforted her through their seasons in hiding, but stood as a symbol of all that she was missing in the outside world:
“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 sea gulls and other birds as they glide on the wind…I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
– Anne Frank, “The Diary of a Young Girl”
Despite efforts to shore it up, the aged, diseased tree toppled in a windstorm in 2010. Thirty-four organizations responded to the Center’s 2009 request for proposals to plant saplings in their communities. The winning locations were selected because they embody Anne’s unwavering belief in equality, demonstrate the horrific consequences of intolerance in all of its forms, or showcase historic events in civil rights and social justice in the United States.
“We are excited that we can now move forward with planting the saplings and launching a national education initiative called ‘Confronting Intolerance Today: Lessons from Anne Frank,’” noted Anne Frank Center USA Executive Director Yvonne Simons. “As the saplings take root, they will become living symbols of justice and tolerance in America for many years to come. The message of tolerance will spread from these 11 communities across the country, joining these historical examples of hatred and discrimination with contemporary issues.”
The Boston Common planting, coordinated by the Mayor’s Office and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, is the culmination of a student project initiated by 15-year-old Aliyah Finkel.
“I am pleased to have played a small part in bringing the sapling to Boston Common,” Finkel said this week. “I learned about the Anne Frank Tree project while preparing for my Bat Mitzvah three years ago and felt that, given Boston’s important role in establishing liberty, freedom and tolerance as fundamental precepts for this country, Boston Common was a perfect spot for one of these historic trees.”
Mayor Menino will join dignitaries including Dutch Deputy Counsel General Yvette Daoud, Anne Frank Center USA Director of Outreach and Exhibitions Hilary Eddy Stipelman, Boston Public Library President Amy E. Ryan, Aliyah Finkel , and Roderik Rodermond, Commercial Vice President for Air France KLM in the Americas, for a public dedication ceremony at the sapling’s planting location on Boston Common along the Mayor’s Walk between Soldiers and Sailors Memorial and the Earl of Sandwich Café. This event is made possible through funding from Air France KLM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Netherland-America Foundation.
“Boston Public Library is honored to collaborate with so many organizations to celebrate the Anne Frank Sapling Project in the City of Boston,” said BPL President Amy E. Ryan. “The unveiling of the sapling on the Boston Common and the Library’s programming for patrons of all ages ensure Anne Frank’s legacy lives on and continues to educate us all.”
Boston Public Library will host seven program events in June connected with the Anne Frank Sapling Project. At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, the Grove Hall Branch will host “Creating a Personal Diary,” a workshop for young people to celebrate Anne Frank’s legacy and the planting of the Boston Common sapling. Teens will make their own diaries out of recycled materials and decorate them with the image of a tree. The workshop will repeat at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, in the Margret and H.A. Rey Children’s Room at the Central Library in Copley Square.
At 6 p.m. on June 4, the Boston Public Library will host the “Confronting Intolerance Today: Lessons from Anne Frank” program in partnership with The Anne Frank Center USA and the Mayor’s Office in the Abbey Room at the Central Library in Copley Square. This program is made possible through funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherland-America Foundation, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
At 4 p.m. on June 6, the South End Branch will host the children’s program “The View from Anne’s Window.” Children will explore online images of Anne’s view from her window in the Secret Annex and read from her diary entries about her chestnut tree and her vision to the world beyond. They will then collaborate to create a collage of views and visions, Anne’s and their own.
At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, Anne Frank’s birthday, there will be a discussion group in the Teen Room at the Central Library in Copley Square. The Teen Book of the Month Club has selected “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” for this month’s discussion in honor of her birthday and the planting of the sapling on Boston Common.
Also honoring Anne Frank’s birthday and the sapling planting, the Teen Book Club at the Grove Hall Branch has selected “Annexed” by Sharon Dogar, a fictionalized re-telling of Anne’s story from the perspective of Peter, Anne’s companion in the Annex, for this month’s discussion at 4 p.m. on June 12.
In addition, Boston Public Library will launch a webpage dedicated to Anne Frank with online resources including galleries of digital images, book lists for children and adults, teacher guides, electronic research tools, and more information about the Sapling Project in Boston and other communities.
Donations to Boston’s Anne Frank Sapling Project can be made by mailing a check payable to The Fund for Parks & Recreation to: Anne Frank Sapling Project, c/o Boston Parks and Recreation Department, 1010 Massachusetts Ave., 3rd floor, Boston, MA 02118. Please include “Account 61752” in the subject line. Further information on the Sapling Project can be found on The Anne Frank Center USA’s Sapling Project website at annefranktreeusa.com.