Born July 12, 1908, in Liège; died there Aug. 6, 1968. A leader of the Belgian workers’ movement. A teacher by profession. Became a member of the Communist Party of Belgium in 1938.
During the occupation of Belgium by fascist German troops (1940-44), Burnelle participated actively in the resistance movement. After the country was liberated, Burnelle became editor in chief of the central organ of the Communist Party, the newspaper Le Drapeau Rouge. He became a member of the Central Committee of the Party in 1946. From 1951 to 1953 he was first secretary of the Liège Federation of the Party. He became a member of the Party’s Politburo in 1954, served as national secretary from 1954 to 1961, and as chairman from 1961 to 1968. He was a member of parliament from 1946 to 1949 and again beginning in 1965.