Sapling from tree which Anne Frank treasured re-planted in Hampstead

A SAPLING from a horse chestnut tree which brought comfort to Anne Frank while she hid from the Nazis has been re-planted at Hampstead’s University College School.

Eva Schloss, the 81-year-old stepsister of Anne Frank, attended a dedication ceremony on Tuesday with her husband Zvi Schloss and 91-year-old Bee Klug, MBE, who founded the Anne Frank Trust.

Ms Schloss, who lives in St John’s Wood, explained how she and Anne were childhood friends who played together from ages 11 to 13.

Both families went into hiding separately when the Nazis occupied Amsterdam in 1940 and after being betrayed, they were sent to concentration camps. Her father and brother were murdered as was Anne, her sister Margot, and their mother, Edith. Anne’s father, Otto, survived and later married Ms Schloss’s mother, Elfriede Geiringer, in 1953.

“After the Liberation, Otto came back to Amsterdam and he helped my mother and me,” said Ms Schloss. “We lost my father and brother in Auschwitz and Otto lost Anne, Margot and their mother. Anne was my age.”

In her diary, which Otto Frank translated and had published after the war, Anne often referred to the horse chestnut which stood outside the house in Amsterdam. She could see it from the attic window where she was hiding and it was her sole contact with nature during her two years’ confinement.

Ms Schloss’s friend Cindy Lass painted a picture of the tree which she donated to the Anne Frank museum. An inscription reads: “Anne had no time to blossom, everyone has the right to blossom.”

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When the tree blew down last August the museum trustees gave Ms Lass a sapling in recognition of the painting. She donated the cutting to UCS because her two sons are pupils at the school and it symbolises new life.

q Eva Schloss is pictured at the UCS ceremony.