The Anne Frank Tree Project: Town Hall Meetings
On April 29, 2022, the University of Iowa will welcome a remarkable new tree to the Pentacrest: a sapling propagated from the immense chestnut tree that grew behind the Amsterdam annex where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II.
UI faculty member Kirsten Kumpf Baele, PhD (German, CLAS) secured this tremendous honor for the University of Iowa, one of only thirteen U.S. sites so far approved to host an Anne Frank Sapling. Kumpf Baele, a Holocaust scholar and instructor of the popular undergraduate seminar Anne Frank and Her Story, submitted a lengthy proposal to the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect’s Sapling Project for the UI to receive a tree, including letters of support from the local Jewish community, the UNESCO City of Literature, and UI campus leaders. Her application was approved in 2020, and in Spring 2022—following a wait due to COVID—this living symbol of Anne’s spirit and humanitarian message will be planted at the UI during a public ceremony. (Other U.S. planting sites include the U.S. Capitol, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Michigan, and the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.)
Kumpf Baele is partnering with the Obermann Center, with support from The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect; The UI Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; the UI Department of German; and UI Landscape Services to coordinate a yearlong series of public events—broadly titled “The Anne Frank Tree: Taking Root in Iowa”—aimed at recognizing the power of nature and the written word to provide hope and resiliency in difficult times. The events so far include a public reading of Anne Frank’s diary, a writing contest, an exhibit, and a documentary film screening. We’ve just launched a website, uiannefranktree.com, containing a provisional schedule of events; information about the Amsterdam horse chestnut and its saplings; and resources for educators, students, and the media.
Share your ideas at town hall–style meetings on May 13!
All who are interested in this program are invited to join Kumpf Baele and Obermann staff at a virtual “town-hall” meeting on Thursday, May 13, 2021, to learn about our plans for these events and to brainstorm additional ideas—specifically, ways that other campus units and community organizations can become involved. We especially welcome the voices of campus partners and community members who share an interest in Anne Frank and public memorials. Both town halls are virtual and open to the public, but registration is required. Please choose the meeting time that best suits your schedule:
Please visit uiannefranktree.com for more information, and join our Anne Frank Sapling e-mail list to receive news and updates about the events.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Erin Hackathorn in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 335-4034.