Reina Prinsen Geerligs




Reina Prinsen Geerligs (7 October 1922 – 24 November 1943) was a member of the Dutch Resistance during World War II. After the war the literary Reina Prinsen Geerligs Award was created in her memory.

Reina Prinsen Geerligs was born in 1922 in SemarangDutch East Indies, the daughter of the chemist Johan Prinsen Geerligs[a] and his wife Helen Carolina Zon. She had a brother who was two years younger. They moved to Amsterdam when she was still very young.[1]

In the Netherlands, Prinsen Geerligs was a member of the Youth Organisation for the Study of Nature, and she started writing poetry and prose. But when the war started, she mostly stopped writing and concentrated on her work with the resistance, initially mainly as a courier. Her house became the meeting place for resistance group CS-6, and Reina Prinsen Geerligs became involved with at least two assassination attempts. In 1943 she and Louis Boissevain tried to kill police officer Pieter Kaay, but stopped the attempt when they saw Kaay seated with a child in his lap. Another group executed him the next day.[1]

Prinsen Geerligs was arrested on 23 July 1943, and confessed to her work as a resistance fighter. In November 1943 she and some other members of the resistance group were transported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where they were executed the next day.[1]

Her parents only learned of her death in 1946. With the money they had set apart to finance her studies, they created a fund for a literary award in her honour, the Reina Prinsen Geerligs Award, given to a young writer between the ages of 20 and 25, and which was won by some of the most prominent Dutch writers at the start of their career, including Gerard Reve and Harry Mulisch. It was last awarded in 1979.

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