Diseased Anne Frank tree to be cut down next week

AMSTERDAM Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:19pm GMT

1 of 2. The 150 to 170-year-old chestnut tree and the house where Anne Frank lived is seen in Amsterdam August 17, 2007. The tree has been given a lease of life by a bureaucratic logjam. In November, Amsterdam city council said the giant tree had to be felled because it was so diseased. Nine months later, the council cannot say when the order will be carried out because of delaying tactics by those upset by its decision.

Credit: Reuters/Robin van Lonckhuijsen

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A diseased chestnut tree that gave solace to Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam will be cut down on November 21, the city council said on Tuesday.

Plans to fell the tree had been delayed by appeals but a recent investigation had shown the tree was too diseased.

"The risk that the trunk will break causing the 27-ton tree to fall ... is unacceptably big," the council said in a statement on its website.

Only 28 percent of the trunk was still healthy, it said.

The Jewish teenager described gazing longingly at the tree in the diary she kept during her two years in hiding.

Anne and her family hid in an annexe to a canal-side warehouse until they were betrayed and arrested in August 1944. The towering horse chestnut was one of the few examples of nature and normal life she could see.

The council said that once cut down, the tree would be lifted out by crane.

"After the felling, a graft from the original tree will be put in its place. In this way the tree, which is so closely connected with the memory of Anne Frank, will live on," the Anne Frank House said on its website.

The Frankfurt-born girl's diary became one of the world's most widely read books after publication in 1947.

Anne and her sister Margot died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, just weeks before it was liberated.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; editing by Robert Woodward)