Sapling from Anne Frank tree to be planted on school grounds

Eva Geiringer Schloss, Anne Frank’s stepsister, shovels dirt to plant a sapling of ASL’s Anne Frank Tree on April 18. Many important members of the ASL and London community gathered for the planting of a sapling of the chestnut tree that grew outside Anne Frank’s hidden loft. Along with speeches from Head of School Ms. Coreen Hester, a rabbi, Schloss, and a few eighth-grade students were chosen to read excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary. To conclude the ceremony, every person in attendance, including the entire eighth-grade class, was invited to shovel dirt onto the sapling to help plant the tree.

Editors’ note: this post was updated after the tree was planted to include a photo and caption of the event.

When Anne Frank was a child hiding from the Nazis in an apartment in Amsterdam, she often looked out of the window of her secret annex to see a chestnut tree.  Anne Frank mentioned this tree many times in her diary.  The tree is now dead, but before it died, saplings were collected from the tree so that one day they could be planted around the world. The tree was a symbol of hope for her, and all of the people who were in hiding with her. Her memory and the memory of many others will survive and continue to grow at ASL.  One of the saplings from the tree will be planted on the grounds of the school.

The day that students arrive back from Spring Break, Tuesday, April 18, a sapling from the Anne Frank tree will be planted in the backyard of 47 Grove End Road, near Waverley Park. Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s stepsister, will be present to speak a few words about the tree, as will the entire eighth grade and several high school students.

There are only roughly ten saplings that have already been planted around the world.  Some of the saplings have been planted in Israel, London, and in Washington D.C.

Currently, the eighth-grade students are learning about human rights in their social studies classes, so this occasion ties in nicely with their learning.

There will be a plaque under the Anne Frank Tree and some words from the Anne Frank Diary. The quote says “April is glorious, not too hot and not too cold, with occasional light showers. Our chestnut tree is in leaf, and here and there you can already see a few small blossoms.” Anne Frank wrote these words on Tuesday, April 18, 1944. The tree will also be planted on a Tuesday, April 18, 73 years later in 2017.   

Attending the ceremony will be the Dutch ambassador and some dignitaries from Westminster and the US embassy.

Eighth-grade social studies teacher Mr. Ryan Steege explained why the tree is being planted at the American School in London. “It is meant for it to be a learning space and for kids to be around and to think about it and to use it in a positive way.” 

Many years from now, when the sapling has grown into a full tree, students can take a moment and look up, reflecting on what that tree means, to them, and to the world.

About Eli Nilson ('21)

News Editor (2016-2017)

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