Anne Frank's tree, hope lives on at Sonoma State University

  • Sam Youney, director of landscaping at Sonoma State University, looks over the young chestnut tree that was grown from a sapling of the original chestnut tree that inspired hope in Anne Frank while she was in hiding. The original tree was felled by high winds and rain in Amsterdam.

Sonoma State University is home to one of those saplings and the tree will become part of school's Erna and Arthur Salm Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove on campus.

From her upper story window Frank looked to the tree for signs of life during her two-year incarceration.

"Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year," Frank wrote in her famed diary in 1944.

Frank, who maintained a poignant diary throughout her family's two-year stay in hiding, died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.

Her diary has become the most widely read document of the holocaust.

"Anne really looked out the window and saw the tree as a symbol of nature being in order," said Maureen McNeil, director of education at the New York-based Anne Frank Center USA.

The saplings, under federal quarantine for two more years, will likely be the focus of renewed hope when they are planted, McNeil.

"I think it will be a huge celebration when these trees are planted and it's nice that they are spread out around the country," she said.

- Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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