Anne Frank tree falls over in heavy wind and rain

Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:25pm EDT
 
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By Aaron Gray-Block

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A giant chestnut tree that comforted Dutch diarist Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic during World War Two collapsed in heavy wind and rain Monday.

No one was hurt and the 150-year old tree fell across a fence, missing the Anne Frank House, which has been turned into a museum and was full of tourists.

"It broke off like a match. It broke off completely about one meter off the ground," a spokesman for the house said.

The tree was one of the few signs of nature visible to the Jewish teen-ager from the concealed attic she hid in for over two years during World War Two and it is mentioned in the diary which became a worldwide best-seller after her death in a concentration camp in 1945.

"Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year," she wrote in May 1944, not long before she was betrayed to the Nazis.

The tree had developed fungus and was set to be felled in 2007 due to concerns for the safety of the 1 million people who visit Anne Frank's house each year.

But officials and conservationists later agreed to secure it with a steel frame to prolong its life and saplings from the tree were planted last year in an Amsterdam park and other cities around the world.

A Dutch tree foundation, which fought to keep the tree alive with another support group, said horticulturalists had estimated the tree could still have lived for dozens of years.   Continued...

 
<p>A man points to the collapsed chestnut tree which comforted Dutch diarist Anne Frank while she hid from the Nazis during World War II, in Amsterdam August 23, 2010. REUTERS/Robin van Lonkhuijsen/United Photos</p>