yahoo news reports this morning:
"AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The ancient chestnut tree that comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland must be cut down, the Amsterdam city council said Tuesday.
The diseased tree in the courtyard behind the canal-side warehouse where the Frank family took refuge for more than two years has been attacked by an aggressive fungus and a moth, called the horse chestnut leaf miner. Experts estimate the tree's age at 150-170 years.
The chestnut is familiar to some 25 million readers of "The Diary of Anne Frank." Anne often looked at it longingly from the attic, the only window that was not blacked out to prevent anyone seeing movement inside the apartment in the rear of the warehouse on Prinsengracht street where the Frank family hid.
The Jewish teenager made several references to it in the diary that she kept during the 25 months she remained indoors until the family was arrested in August 1944.
The tree's condition has rapidly deteriorated in recent years, the city said. The inner wood is rotten and the dying roots and bark are not regenerating.
"It's very sad, but the decision has been taken," said Patricia Bosboom, spokeswoman of the Anne Frank House museum. "It's one of the oldest chestnut trees in Amsterdam."
It will take several weeks before the city issues the required license to fell the tree.
The museum, where the tiny apartment has been preserved, said grafts already have been taken and a sapling from the original chestnut will replace the once-towering tree.
"Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs," Anne wrote on Feb. 23, 1944. "From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. ...
"As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy."
Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945"