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Anne Frank's Tree Saved From Ax

The monumental chestnut tree that comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding from the Nazis will be preserved for at least five more years under a plan agreed Wednesday, the museum at the site said.

The tree, which is afflicted with a lethal fungus, was to have been cut down last year, but a judge ordered a reprieve while supporters worked on a plan to preserve it.

Anne Frank House spokeswoman Maatje Mostart said the tree's crown would be trimmed and supported this spring, and a steel ring brace would be placed around its upper trunk. The tree is now expected to survive between five and 15 years, she said.

The city of Amsterdam, the museum, the tree's owner, the Netherlands' Trees Institute and a private group of supporters agreed on the plan, which was worked out by a team of experts from several countries.

The supporters, organized into the "Support Anne Frank's Tree Institute," will raise funds to pay expected costs of around $15,000 per year for the tree's care.

The Anne Frank House museum includes the apartment where the Jewish teenager and her family hid from the Nazis for 25 months during World War II.

Anne referred to the tree several times in her diary as a comfort while she was confined in the concealed apartment adjacent to the courtyard where the tree stands. She could see it through the attic skylight, the only window that was not blacked out.

The family was betrayed, and Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.