- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton said Friday he hoped a new exhibit outside his presidential library honoring Anne Frank will teach visitors to focus on their similarities, not the divisions that have led to tragedies.

Clinton celebrated the grand opening of the Anne Frank Tree, an outdoor exhibit that will feature a sapling from the tree outside the building where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II. Clinton said Frank, who gained international fame through the publication of her diary after dying in a concentration camp, is a reminder of how even children can be demonized because of racial, ethnic or religious divisions.

“We shouldn’t have to have a killing to be reminded of our common humanity,” Clinton said.

The exhibit consists of five framed, etched panels, two of which feature quotes from Frank and Clinton. The other three focus on the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Little Rock Central High School Desegregation Crisis.

Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House, compared Frank to the nine black students who desegregated Central High School in 1957.

“Similar to Anne Frank’s dreams, theirs was also rooted in a history of injustice and inequality,” he said. “Like Anne, they did not give in to the hopelessness of the moment but held on through their unalienable rights and ideas.

The library is among 11 sites in the U.S. that have received saplings from the white horse chestnut tree that was outside the secret annex where the Frank family hid. The tree was present at the ceremony but will be housed at a local nursery until it has matured and thrive at its new home. A similar chestnut tree will be temporarily planted in its place.

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Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

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