A piece of Anne Frank’s legacy will literally grow in the shadow of the World Trade Center.
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect welcomed Frank’s second-cousin and a family friend, among other guests, to Liberty Park on Monday for the dedication of a chestnut tree. The tree is a sapling of the same chestnut tree that grew outside the Amsterdam house where Frank and her family hid during Nazi occupation. Monday would have been her 88th birthday.
In her diary, she described how the tree gave her hope despite her dire conditions, according to Steven Goldstein, the nonprofit’s executive director.
“We want people to come to the Anne Frank tree to reflect and have the same hope,” he said.
Eleven saplings of the original tree have been planted across the country, but Goldstein said the New York location was extra special. Its proximity to the World Trade Center provides an added layer of symbolism for visitors.
“This was the flagship of our sapling project, because this tree resembles the hope and resilience of New York after 9/11,” he said.
Monica Smith, Frank’s second cousin, recalled how a young Frank would always light up with excitement and take joy in seeing the tree. She said she hoped the New York planting would remind visitors to never forget the Holocaust and, more importantly, stand up against oppression in any form.
“I feel we should try a lot harder in the world … and work a little better for the cause,” she said.