Hiding from the Nazis in a cramped Amsterdam apartment, Anne Frank often gazed at a majestic chestnut tree visible through an attic skylight - her only window to the outside world - and dreamed of freedom.
Now a group of tree conservationists and local activists are fighting a last-ditch effort to prevent the badly diseased tree from being cut down, saying it is a living link to the memory of the teenage diarist, who died in a concentration camp aged 15.
"It's a monument to the spirit of what Anne Frank wrote, hope and light, which she did not have," said Sylvio Mutal, a neighbor whose study overlooks the courtyard where the tree is located.
Mutal, a former consultant to the UN on preservation of monuments, called a decision by the City of Amsterdam to fell the tree next week a "betrayal," after earlier promises to wait until Jan. 1 to consider a salvage plan.
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