ThetreesWhat do the US Capitol Building, Central High School in Little Rock, the Boston Commons, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City have in common with the Southern Cayuga School District? How do Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, Emily Howland and William Seward fit into this equation? The answer lives in a small group of tree saplings cultivated from one of the most famous horse chestnut trees in history.

During World War II, Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, kept a diary for two years before being exposed. This diary was published by her father, the only family survivor, after Anne’s death at the age of 15 from Typhus in a concentration camp. During those years of concealment, one of the few things that Anne could see from the window was a large horse chestnut tree. The tree survived until 2010 when fungus and a wind storm brought it down.

In October 2009, the Anne Frank Center announced that it was giving 11 saplings cut from this tree to sites in the US that represented social justice and freedom. Some of the places selected include obvious choices such as the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and Central High School, home of the Little Rock 9, but on the surface, Southern Cayuga may seem a strange choice: a little rural school with seemingly no claim to fame. In fact, with the exception of Central High School, Southern Cayuga is the only school district on this prestigious list.

Learn more about the Anne Frank Center Sapling Project 

Other tree sites across the nation:

  • Little Rock Central High School (Arkansas)
  • William J. Clinton Presidential Center (Arkansas)
  • Sonoma State University (California)
  • Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial (Idaho)
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indiana)
  • Boston Common (Massachusettes)*
  • Holocaust Memorial Center (Michigan)
  • Liberty Park Commemorating 9/11 (New York)
  • Southern Cayuga School District (New York)
  • Holocaust Center for Humanity (Washington)
  • U.S. Capitol (Washington D.C.)

*denotes former Sapling Project tree site