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Anne Frank tribute coming to SSU

  • Anne Frank

A sapling from the tree outside the Amsterdam home of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl whose diary made her one of the most renowned victims of the Holocaust, will be planted later this year at Sonoma State University.

It is fitting. It is a living memorial, said Hans Angress of Cotati, a classmate of Franks who also went into hiding to escape the Nazis.

The sapling grown from the horse chestnut tree described in Franks diary is one of 11 that will be planted in the United States, according to the Anne Frank Center USA in New York, which obtained the trees.

It will be planted at the Erna and Arthur Salm Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove at SSU, which also has a center for the study of the Holocaust and genocide.

We thought they had an inspiring proposal that draws all the aspects of tolerance together, said Yvonne Simons, executive director of the Frank center. They have center for the study of the Holocaust and genocide, and it includes a number of other genocides across the world.

Simons said it was appropriate the tree was going to be planted near the SSU memorial, which bears an inscription from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

They were both born in 1929, both were slain by ignorance and hatred and both lives were committed to contributing to the human dialogue, Simons said. That was a compelling part of the proposal.

Elaine Leeder, dean of the SSU School of Social Sciences, said the tree is a profound symbol for those who have persevered.

That tree has been the source of inspiration for persecuted and victimized people starting with Anne Frank. She used to look out the window and see the tree and the hope of different seasons as she saw the seasons change, Leeder said.

The horse chestnut is a broad deciduous shade tree that can exceed 100 feet in height.

The SSU memorial, which was completed in March, consists of 45 feet of railroad tracks leading to a 12-foot, illuminated glass tower created by SSU associate art professor Jann Nunn.

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