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 Frank?s who also went into hiding to escape the Nazis.
The sapling grown from the horse chestnut tree described in Frank?s 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.
Santa Rosa businessman David Salm was a major contributor to the memorial, which cost $100,000 and is named for Salm?s parents, who fled Germany for the United States.
The memorial also stands for the survivors of other genocides, such as those against American Indians and in Armenia, Darfur, Rwanda and Cambodia.
Angress, 81, a member of an alliance of Holocaust survivors who provide historical information and assistance to Sonoma State, was a classmate of Frank when he was 13.
Although he did not know her personally, Angress said that ?period in our lives was certainly pretty intense. I in a way feel rather close to Anne even though I never knew her. We experienced the same discrimination and persecution.?
Angress said he, his brother and mother went into hiding 15 months after Frank?s family.
The Frank family was discovered after two years in hiding and Anne Frank died at age 15 in a concentration camp.
Her diary, published in 1947 after it was discovered hidden in a wall of the house, is one of the most well-read books in history and recounts the German occupation of the Netherlands and the persecution of the Jews.