A sapling grown from the original tree that stood outside the hiding place of Holocaust teenage diarist Anne Frank was planted on the U.S. Capitol’s west front lawn. Frank wrote about the original tree in her diary.
“Our chestnut tree is in full blossom,” Frank wrote on May 13, 1944. “It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.” The tree became diseased over the years, eventually being blown over from high winds in 2010. Eleven saplings to be planted around the world were created from the collapsed tree. One of those saplings will be planted in Seattle, most likely in 2015 or 2016.
The planting ceremony for the sapling in the Capitol was attended by politicians from both major U.S. parties, foreign dignitaries such as Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, and Holocaust survivors.
“It’s fitting that we plant a tree in Anne Frank’s memory in the shadow of our majestic Capitol dome,” the building’s chief architect Stephen Ayers said at the ceremony, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. “Years from now, visitors to the Capitol will find shade and solace in its mighty branches.”
House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is Jewish, recited the Jewish “Shehecheyanu” prayer in English. “Today we dedicate this tree as a living testament to the memory of Anne Frank, a young woman of grand pleasantry and gifted insight, but who knew no peace,” Cantor said.
Ilana Cone Kennedy, the director of education for the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center in Seattle, also flew to the capital to attend the event.
“People were so excited to be there, and there was so much media and attention to this little tree,” Kennedy said. “Everyone was so passionate abou this little Anne Frank tree as a symbol of human rights and tolerance and respect and a reminder of what we can all do in the world.”