Thanks in part to efforts by a Brookline teenager, a sapling from the horse chestnut tree that stood near the secret annex in Amsterdam where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II will soon be planted in Boston Common.
Aliyah Finkel, now 15, said she was preparing for her bat mitzvah when she learned about the Anne Frank Sapling Project, which was distributing saplings from the tree to 11 sites across the United States. The saplings were being awarded to organizations that embodied Frank’s belief in equality, demonstrated consequences of intolerance, or showcased historic events in civil rights and social justice.
Finkel said in a statement she felt that “given Boston’s important role in establishing liberty, freedom and tolerance as fundamental precepts for this country, Boston Common was a perfect spot for one of these historic trees.”
With the help of her mother, she brought the idea to Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office, and the administration filed a formal application for a sapling.
Frank occasionally wrote about the tree, felled by a windstorm in 2010, in her now famous diary: “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 sea gulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. . . . I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
Finkel will join Menino and Yvette Daoud, the Netherlands deputy head of mission and consul for economic affairs, on the Common June 4 for a ceremonial planting of the sapling near the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial.
“Her history joins our history on Boston Common, and new life will bloom in Anne’s memory as this tree grows and provides inspiration and beauty to future generations,” Menino said in a statement.
The plantings are part of a national education initiative by the Anne Frank Center USA, which is working with the Boston Public Library to host a series of events on intolerance and discrimination in June.
Others receiving saplings include Little Rock (Ark.) Central High School, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Michigan, and Liberty Park near the World Trade Center site.