Anne Frank's chestnut tree may be cut down

Amsterdam's city council gave the owner of the chestnut tree that comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding a license to cut it down. Opponents have six weeks to file an objection but that is seen as unlikely. The large, 150-year-old tree has been attacked by a fungus and is in danger of falling down. The tree is familiar to some 25 million readers of "The Diary of Anne Frank." It stands in the courtyard of the "secret annex," the canal-side warehouse where her family hid during the Nazi occupation. The Jewish teenager made several references to it in the diary that she kept during the 25 months she remained indoors until the family was arrested in August 1944. "Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs," she wrote on Feb. 23, 1944. "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, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. ... "As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy." The city council ruled in November that it was a hazard. On Thursday, the council granted the owner of the tree, the house next door to the former warehouse, a license to cut it down.