The Anne Frank Tree – Our Living Artifact

Categories: Blog, Holocaust Voices, Now at the HMC

By: Anne Donato, Education Specialist – 

The Holocaust Memorial Center has thousands of beautiful artifacts to share with every visitor, from original letters written to family during the time of the Holocaust to intriguing photographs and personal objects of exceptional significance and affect. The stories they tell make the narrative of the Holocaust come to life in a very personal way. And while these artifacts have a voice that resonates within our walls, there is a voice on the other side of these walls in our courtyard that also has a story to tell.

In 2009, the Holocaust Memorial Center was honored to have been selected as one of only 11 sites in the United States to receive a sapling from the tree that grew outside Anne Frank’s hiding place in Amsterdam. During her nearly two years in hiding, her exposure to the outside world was limited to what she could see outside her window.

“From my favorite spot on the floor, I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver […] When I looked outside right into the depth of nature and God, then I was happy, really happy.”

Anne Frank, February 23, 1944

By generous donation and care, we are able to share with you this very special artifact stemming from the Holocaust period – a living artifact – a cutting acquired directly from the original chestnut tree. It is a highlight of our educational tours, and stands tall as a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of those who did not survive the persecution of the Holocaust. We warmly welcome you to come and see this glorious artifact for yourself, in addition to all of the other remarkable artifacts that have a story to tell as you visit the museum. It is found in the Viola and Garry Kappy Anne Frank Tree & Exhibit.

For those who have read Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, the tree provides a living historical connection to a rich historical narrative. For those who have yet to read her diary, viewing such a powerful and transcendent piece of history may inspire you to do so. Our doors are open and we are excited to offer you this very special opportunity.