It was the only link Anne Frank had to the outside world, and now the most famous tree in Amsterdam is gone.
Dubbed "Anne Frank's Tree," the 150-year-old chestnut tree that stood outside the home of Miep and Jan Gies during the German occupation of the Netherlands is more famous than any growing in Brooklyn or any Shel Silverstein has conjured.
Its fame saved it once from being felled by city officials who noted a hazard in the tree the young diarist saw outside her window while being hidden in the Gies' attic.
But three years after a global initiative to save it, two years after steel supports were added to keep it up, Anne's tree was no match for the wind and rain that swept through Amsterdam.
Says a short note on the Anne Frank House website, "The tree broke off completely at a height of approximately one meter above the ground. Fortunately nobody was injured."
Stuck in the hidden attic of the Gies' home, hiding from the Nazis, there was little the young girl could see beyond sky, birds, and the towering white horse chestnut -- which she wrote about on three separate occasions in the world's best selling diary (sorry Wimpy Kid).
Reading the book as a girl, I used to peer out the window of the bedroom I shared with my little brother, determining first what I could see if I was only granted the view from his bunk, then my own.
It was still more than Frank saw day in and day out for more than two years. It's no wonder people were so willing to save it.
The Netherlands Tree Institute, instrumental in the tree's saving several years ago, admits (via Newser), "Alas, in the event it seems that nature is stronger."
Fortunately, all is not lost. Since the tree was first identified to be in bad shape, the Anne Frank House has been working to keep its legacy alive, collecting its chestnuts, germinating saplings, and donating them to places around the world.
In 2009 alone, 150 descendants of the tree were donated to the Amsterdamse Bos woodland park. You can even "leave your leaf" on Anne Frank's virtual tree today.
Image via Anne Frank House