Anne Frank trees in Little Rock

On June 12, 1929, Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany.  Through her diary, she has inspired generations with her courage as her family was in hiding from the Nazis.  During the two years she and her family were in seclusion, she looked out and saw a white horse chestnut tree from her window.

In 2009, the Anne Frank Center USA announced an initiative to place saplings from the tree at various locations throughout the United States.  Little Rock became the only city to receive two saplings.  One to be placed at Central High School, the other to be placed at the Clinton Presidential Center.

The Clinton Foundation and the Sisterhood of Congregation B’nai Israel, in conjunction with the Anne Frank Center USA, joined together to create a powerful exhibit, The Anne Frank Tree, located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Park.  The permanent installation, which surrounds the Anne Frank Tree sapling, was dedicated on October 2, 2015.

Anne’s tree would outlive her by more than 50 years before being weakened by disease and succumbing to a windstorm in 2010. But today, thanks to dozens of saplings propagated in the months before its death, Anne’s tree lives on in cities and towns around the world.

The Anne Frank Tree installation at the Clinton Center consists of five framed, etched glass panels – arranged to evoke the feeling of being inside a room – surrounded by complementary natural landscaping. The two front panels feature quotes from Anne Frank and President Clinton. The three additional panels convey the complex history of human rights in Arkansas through descriptions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis of 1957. These panels feature quotes from Chief Heckaton, hereditary chief of the Quapaw during Arkansas’s Indian Removal; George Takei, Japanese-American actor who was interned at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County, Arkansas, in 1942; and Melba Pattillo Beals, of the Little Rock Nine.

In collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, Little Rock landscape architect Cinde Bauer and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, exhibit designer for both the Center and The National Holocaust Museum, assisted in the design of the exhibit. The installation has been made possible thanks to the support of the Ben J. Altheimer Charitable Foundation, TRG Foundation, and other generous partners.

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Anne Frank Tree exhibit to be dedicated today at Clinton Center

AnneFrankTreeThe Clinton Foundation and the Sisterhood of Congregation B’nai Israel, in conjunction with the Anne Frank Center USA, have joined together to create a new powerful exhibit, The Anne Frank Tree, which will be located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Park.  The permanent installation, which will surround the Anne Frank Tree sapling, will open today.

In 2009, the Clinton Center was one of 11 entities in the United States to be awarded a young chestnut tree by the Anne Frank Center USA’s “Sapling Project.” The sapling was taken from the white horse chestnut tree that stood outside Anne Frank’s Secret Annex when she and her family were in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. The young writer cherished and wrote about the tree frequently in her famous diary.

“As long as this exists,” Anne wrote on February 23, 1944, “how can I be sad?” During the two years she spent in the Secret Annex, the solace Anne found in her chestnut tree provided a powerful contrast to the Holocaust unfolding beyond her attic window. And as war narrowed in on Anne and her family, her tree became a vivid reminder that a better world was possible.

Anne’s tree would outlive its namesake by more than 50 years before being weakened by disease and succumbing to a windstorm in 2010. But today, thanks to dozens of saplings propagated in the months before its death, Anne’s tree lives on in cities and towns around the world. The Anne Frank tree saplings provide an opportunity for these sites to tell the story of Anne Frank and connect it to incidents of injustice witnessed in each locale. To date, seven saplings have been planted at locations as diverse as the U.S. Capitol and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

The Center’s installation consists of five framed, etched glass panels – arranged to evoke the feeling of being inside a room – surrounded by complementary natural landscaping. The two front panels feature quotes from Anne Frank and President Clinton. The three additional panels will convey the complex history of human rights in Arkansas through descriptions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis of 1957. These panels will feature quotes from Chief Heckaton, hereditary chief of the Quapaw during Arkansas’ Indian Removal; George Takei, Japanese-American actor who was interned at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County in 1942; and Melba Patillo Beals, member of the Little Rock Nine.

In collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, Little Rock landscape architect Cinde Drilling and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, exhibit designer for both the Center and The National Holocaust Museum, assisted in the design of the exhibit. The installation has been made possible thanks to the support of the Ben J. Altheimer Charitable Foundation and other generous partners.

The Center’s sapling is currently housed in a local nursery where it is acclimating to Arkansas’s environment. And although it will be present during the ceremony, it will be returned to the nursery where it will be cared for until it has matured and can thrive in its new home, located on the grounds of the Park. A similar chestnut tree will be temporarily planted in its place until the Anne Frank tree can be permanently transplanted.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven, Schoenberg, Takei

Actor and activist George Takei joins the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra this weekend in concerts at Robinson Center Music Hall to narrate Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw at a concert featuring a message of hope and unity with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony also known as Ode to Joy.

The ASO MasterWorks concerts are tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 3pm.

Takei’s appearance is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust and he will take the stage as narrator during Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw. The narration that accompanies this piece depicts the story of a concentration camp survivor from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Takei, a Japanese American who as a child was interned at an internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II, is a supporter of human right issues and community activist.  Takei is chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and was appointed to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission by former President Clinton.
Just after Schoenberg’s moving piece, Maestro Philip Mann and the ASO musicians will be joined by over 400 voices from the state of Arkansas for Beethoven’s prayer for hope and peace,Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy. “This is perhaps the most recognizable work in the history of classical music, and for good reason,” said Mann. “Its message of triumph and victory through a shared brotherhood between peoples is an enduring, timeless, and transcendent declaration. Seen as a watershed movement in music history, the work has gained such significance and is now synonymous with important moments in world history—like its performance marking the re-unification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

Featuring:

George Takei, narrator
Schoenberg Chorus
River City Men’s Chorus
Beethoven Chorus
Arkansas State University
Harding University
Hendrix College
Lyon College
Ouachita Baptist University
Philander Smith College
Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Arkansas at Monticello
Members of River City Men’s Chorus
Philip Mann, conductor
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra