Holocaust Grove

Anne Frank Sapling to be Planted at SSU Holocaust Grove

The courage and inspiration of Anne Frank will be honored in mid-April as SSU plans to plant the sapling taken from the mother chestnut tree that often gave Frank hope as she hid from the Nazis in World War II.


Anne Frank filmUniversity Library: Anne Frank: A History for Today

In association with the planting, the University Library is currently offering an exhibit on its main floor called Anne Frank: A History for Today through April 22. A reception with light snacks will take place on April 12 from 12:30 – 2 p.m. on the second floor of the University Library.

The exhibit and education program features the story of Anne Frank and her family juxtaposed against world events before, during and after the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

The exhibit includes photographs of the Frank family and the other occupants of the Secret Annex and shows how people were persecuted by political decisions and by the actions of individuals. Implicit in the exhibit are the themes of scapegoating, bullying, anti-Semitism, racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

For more information about the exhibit, please visit http://library.sonoma.edu/about/frank.php

Holocaust and Genocide Lecture Series: Michael Berenbaum on "Seeds of Rememberance"

On Tuesday, April 9, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, the preeminent U. S. Holocaust scholar, will present "Seeds of Remembrance" at the Robert L. Harris Memorial Lecture given in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Holocaust and Genocide Lecture Series. The lecture is from 4 -5:40 p.m. in Warren Auditorium (Ives Hall 101).

Dr. Berenbaum was the founding project director at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. He is a rabbi, author and film maker who specializes in the study of the memorialization of the Holocaust. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University. More information about him is available at http://tiny.cc/ekdzuw.

SSU is one of only 11 recipients of the Anne Frank tree saplings in the United States. They are all being planted in public dedications this year.

The planting ceremony at Sonoma State University is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 14 at the Erna and Arthur Salm Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Grove near the campus lakes. A reception follows in the Commons at 2 p.m. The campus community is invited.

Tours of the Grove where the sapling is planted will be offered beginning April 22.

The ceremony will also honor Helena Foster, a Holocaust survivor who has donated funds to plant a circle of 18 trees near the sapling.

"The addition of the Anne Frank tree will solidify the SSU campus as a major center on the West Coast for the study of the Holocaust and genocide," says Leeder. "It will provide eventually a vast canopy under which the University Holocaust Lecture Series and the academic and educational programs throughout Northern California will continue for generations."

Ard van der Vorst, Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands, is the keynote speaker of the day.

Other speakers include:

  • Hilary Eddy Stipelman, The Anne Frank Center, USA
  • Dr. Ruben Arminana, SSU president
  • Dr. Elaine Leeder, Dean of the School of Social Sciences
  • Hans Angress, a classmate of Anne Frank
  • David Salm, co-founder of the Erna and Arthur Salm Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove
  • Jann Nunn, SSU sculpture professor
  • Myrna Goodman, Director of the Holocaust and Genocide Center and Lecture Series
  • Christopher Dinno, Senior Director of Capital Planning, Design and Construction

For almost three years, SSU has nurtured the quarantined sapling that arrived from the Netherlands in late 2009. It has been growing in a special shade house supervised by Sam Youney, SSU Director of Landscape Services, an expert in plant diseases and pest control.

The sapling is being planted in a grove that features a ten-foot tall light tower sculpture created by Professor Jann Nunn. Railroad tracks, symbolic of the Nazi deportations, radiate from the tower. Engraved in the glass tower's base are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Bricks laid between the rails are inscribed with names and places of those who endured the horrors of genocide including Native American, Armenian, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur. Signage near the tree will carry the words written by Frank in her diary: "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

Why was SSU chosen? Yvonne Simons of The Anne Frank Center, USA told SSU that:

"The panel felt that your site 'connected all the dots' by writing an inspiring proposal, drawing all aspects of tolerance together. Your Center for the study of the Holocaust, created by Dr. John Steiner (Dachau and Auschwitz survivor), your membership including Hans Angress, a Berlin Jew who attended school with Anne Frank, and your inclusion of educational programs on other genocides in the world. We particularly like the concept that the sapling would be placed near the Martin Luther King sculpture - and the fact that both were born in 1929, both slain by ignorance and hatred - both lives committed to contribute to human dialogue."

More details and photos about the Grove can be found at http://www.sonoma.edu/holocaust/grove/.