Sonoma State to receive Anne Frank tree sapling

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A 3-foot-tall sapling grown from the horse chestnut tree that often lifted Anne Frank’s spirits as she hid from the Nazis during World War II is coming to the newly created Holocaust Memorial Grove at Sonoma State University.

The Rohnert Park campus is one of 11 U.S. institutions selected to receive a sapling taken from the aging tree that resides behind the Annex where Anne Frank, her family and friends spent two years in hiding. The 150-year-old tree is battling a lethal fungus.

The sites receiving saplings were selected by the New York–based Anne Frank Center USA as institutions dedicated to fighting injustice, intolerance and discrimination.

The sapling will be planted at the foot of SSU’s Erna and Arthur Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove, dedicated last spring to honor survivors and victims of genocides committed throughout the world.

A sign near the tree will carry the words written by Frank in her diary: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

The saplings will be shipped to the United States from Amsterdam by the end of the year. For two years thereafter, SSU’s sapling will be quarantined on or near campus to make sure it does not carry certain plant diseases.

Sonoma State is the only California site to receive a sapling.