Anne Frank's sapling.
(photo credit: GIL ZOHAR)
Jerusalem and its environs have many historic trees, including the grove of gnarled olives in the Garden of Gethsemane – under which Jesus may have sheltered two millennia ago. But now the Holy City has a new contender – a sapling seeded by Anne Frank’s white horse-chestnut tree in Amsterdam, which is growing at Yad Vashem near its International Institute for Holocaust Research.For more than two years until her arrest on August 4, 1944, Frank hid in her family’s secret annex at 263-265 Prinsengracht. Through a window in the attic that was not blacked out, she admired the majestic chestnut tree, planted around 1850, that stood in the courtyard of a neighboring residential block at 188 Keizersgracht, just north of the landmark Westerkerk. The tree was her only connection to the outside world and the changing seasons. Frank wrote about the tree three times in her famed diary. On the last occasion, on May 13, 1944, she observed: “Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.” A month earlier, on April 18, she wrote: “April is glorious, not too hot and not too cold, with occasional light showers. Our chestnut tree is in leaf, and here and there you can already see a few small blossoms.”