By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff
Photos below by Michael Mahesh, World Trade Center Construction
Earlier this month, a beautiful horse chestnut tree was planted at the Port Authority’s Liberty Park on the World Trade Center site, donated by the Anne Frank Center USA.
In her powerful memoir of life in Nazi-occupied Europe, the teenager Anne Frank wrote about a horse chestnut tree in the garden behind the secret annex where she spent more than two years in hiding before being captured and sent to a concentration camp. It was a source of comfort to the young girl, a symbol of freedom, hope, and the fight against hatred and intolerance.
Today, the horse chestnut is a symbol of that effort across the globe. Thanks to the stewards at the Anne Frank House, saplings have been distributed to numerous cities and towns around the world. In the United States, the Anne Frank Center USA’s Sapling Project received 11 of these precious saplings to donate to special locations across the country, including Liberty Park.
The World Trade Center was chosen to receive an Anne Frank sapling early on in the project. The Port Authority’s vision for the rebuilding of the area devastated by terrorists, including the design of Liberty Park, truly embodies her vision of hope in the face of despair.
“This tree, located in Liberty Park, adjacent to the site of the nation’s worst terrorist attack, represents how today’s generation can learn to fight intolerance in all forms, to identify prejudice, stereotyping, polarization and to advocate for a world based on mutual respect,” said Steve Plate, Port Authority’s Chief of Major Capital Projects.
“We are thrilled to see one of Anne’s chestnut trees planted here in lower Manhattan at Liberty Park,” said Hilary Stipelman, Director of Outreach & Exhibitions at the Anne Frank Center USA. “It serves as a reminder of all that has passed and as an enduring, living symbol of hope for the future.”
Passages from the “The Diary of Young Girl”
The two of us looked out at the blue sky, the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew, the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver as they swooped through the air, and we were so moved and entranced that we couldn’t speak.” – 23 February 1944
“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.” – 18 April 1944
“Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.” – 13 May 1944