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Anne Frank’s 180-Year-Old Chestnut Tree Topples in Amsterdam

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The 180-year-old chestnut tree Anne Frank mentioned repeatedly in her diary while she hid in an Amsterdam annex during World War II fell over today.

“At 1:30 p.m. we heard a loud noise, about 30 tons of wood came thundering down,” Hans Westra, director of the Anne Frank Foundation, said by telephone. “The Anne Frank house wasn’t hit. I’m very glad no one was hurt.”

A steel harness was put around the tree about 18 months ago to keep it upright after fungus attacked the chestnut. The tree will be replaced by one of its saplings, Westra said.

Anne Frank, whose book “The Diary of a Young Girl” was first published in Dutch in 1947, hid in the secret annex for more than two years to escape the Nazis. While she wasn’t allowed to go outside, she had a view of the tree and wrote about it often.

The top of the tree, which stood in a closed garden behind one of Amsterdam’s canal houses, could only be seen from one particular spot in Anne Frank’s house.

“Our chestnut tree is in full blossom,” Anne wrote in her diary in May 1944. “It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.”

German police arrested Anne Frank in the house on Aug. 4, 1944. She died in March 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen death camp at the age of 15. The Anne Frank House opened in 1960.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jurjen van de Pol in Amsterdam at jvandepol@bloomberg.net; Jeroen Molenaar in Amsterdam at jmolenaar1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Fraher at jfraher@bloomberg.net.

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