The New York City Holocaust museum is holding a special ceremony on Thursday to dedicate “The Children’s Tree,” a silver maple descended from a tree planted by Jewish children in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the Holocaust.
The ceremony, held in partnership with the Battery Park City Authority, will feature a number of important dignitaries and speakers, including US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust president and CEO Jack Kliger, Czech Consul General Arnošt Kareš, Theresienstadt survivor Fred Terna and more.
Back in Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp located in what was then Czechoslovakia, children were allowed to be educated in order for the Nazis to disguise the true nature of the facility.
In 1943, a teacher bribed a guard to smuggle a sapling in, which the children planted to celebrate Tu Bi’shvat.
Ultimately, only 200 of the 15,000 Jewish children imprisoned in Theresienstadt survived the Holocaust, and the survivors marked their liberation on the tree with a sign, reading “As the branches of this tree, so the branches of our people!”
Unfortunately, the tree was destroyed in a flood some years later. However, saplings from it have been planted in cities worldwide, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Jerusalem.
And now, finally, a 15-foot-long tree will be planted in New York City’s Battery Park.
It will be cared for by the students at the local PS/IS 276.