Like a Tree

Susan Damon

READ : Psalm 1:1-6

In 1985, a tree was planted in Jerusalem in honor of Frederik Kabbes. He had won Israel’s highest award for bravery for saving the life of a Jewish family during World War II.

When the Dutch Underground asked Fred to hide the Jewish salesman, his wife and two young boys, Fred knew the enormity of the risk. Shortly before, the Nazis had forced six members of Fred’s village council to dig their own graves and then shot them, as an example to the village. Hiding Jews could have cost Fred and his family their lives.

Fred first hid the Jewish family in a straw-lined hole dug into the side of a hill, and later beneath a false floor in his chicken coop. Twice a day he brought them food prepared by his wife Gerritje, and on cold nights he and Gerritje took further risks by bringing the family into their home’s one heated room.

Fred and Gerritje are gone now, but like the tree in Psalm 1, their lives were fruitful. They bore fruit in their son, the late Fred Jr., who was passionately concerned about fairness and social justice, and in their many other offspring who faithfully love and serve the Lord. Rooted firmly in the soil of obedience, basking in God’s grace and favor, Frederik and Gerritje’s tree shall not wither.


Lord, thank You for the witness of Your faithful saints. May our lives, too, bear fruit for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.