- Category : 1931-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 1/4 - Investigating / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Tension 2
Dutch writer, philosopher and criminologist, who openly wrote about homosexuality and feminism.
Catharina Irma Dessaur was born in the Bethlehem clinic in Den Haag. She was the eldest daughter of the Jewish perfume merchant Salomon Dessaur (10 September 1903, Den Haag - 16 September 1989, Scheveningen) and Rosa Louise "Shoshanna" Jacobs (20 July 1906, Laag Keppel - 10 March 2000, Scheveningen). Her father was earlier married to Sophia Groen (27 Augustus 1902, Den Haag - 30 September 1942, Auschwitz). She had younger brother named Joost Reinier Dessaer (June 1946), who was named after Reinier Koster, who helped the the family hide during WW2, Reinier married Simone Trientje Moses.
Using false passports supplied by the Dutch Resistance, her Jewish family changed identity and hided in separate places during World War II. From early July 1942 to 1945, during her early years of puberty, Burnier was separated from her parents, staying in sixteen different locations in the North of the Netherlands under the false name Ronnie van Dijk. Without support of her parents, she became painfully aware of the lack of rights that women experienced in a male-dominated society. She felt like a boy trapped in a girl's body.
After the war, Burnier was reunited with her parents and grandparents in Scheveningen. But coming back together was experienced as a "house of sorrow", as so many loved ones never came back and the family had not been able to sustain their members during the second world war. It felt like a "we lost our souls innocence" in a kind of diaspora. How do we find our torn apart origins back?
At age 14, still loaded with a painful past, Dessauer went to a Liberal Christian Lyceum in Den Haag. As she was a bright child, she skipped two classes and graduated with high notes at the Lyceum . She went on to study medicine and philosophy in Amsterdam, but she could not finish it. In 1953 she became pregnant of a son and as a female one had to marry and care for the children according to the mores of those days.
On 4 September 1953, Burnier married the antroposophic publisher and father of her son Johannes Emanuel Zeijlmans van Emmichoven (5 Augustus 1926-2008). In 1951 Zeijlmans had established the Dutch journal "Castrum Peregrini" (burcht der onverzettelijken). The name refers to the hiding place of the German poet Wolfgang Frommel (8 July 1902, Karlsruhe - 13 December 1986, Amsterdam) and other artists at the safe-place at Herengracht 401, being protected by the Amsterdam paintress Gisèle d'Ailly-van Waterschoot van der Gracht (11 September 1912, Den Haag – 27 May 2013, Amsterdam). Zeijlmans worked for many years as a bookdealer, editor and publisher.
They got two children: Carlo Dominique (1954), a "Sprachgestalter "living in Hamburg and Ingeborg Anne Zeijlmans van Emmichoven (28 December 1960, Zeist), who became a PhD psychologist in 2000 at the UVA. Johns father was the antropospohic Ph.D. "color" psychiatrist and Rudolf Steiner biographer Frederik Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven (23 November 1893, Helmond – 18 November 1961, Capetown). From him Burnier learned a lot about antroposophy, which is reflected in her work.
After the birth of her daughter Ingeborg Anna, Burnier left her husband and fled to her Jewish parents in Scheveningen. She went on studying again, this time philosophy in Leiden, which she finished quickly and cum laude.
On 16 January 1964, Burnier and Zeijlmans officially divorced in Amsterdam. Zeijlmans was in 1966 ordained as a priest. He was instrumental in founding the Dutch metaphysical journal Jonas. He went to Reutlingen, Germany in 1977. Emanuel Zeylmans became the author of a number of works, including a biography of the antroposophist physician Ita Wegman and his father.
But Burnier had discovered and accepted her lesbian nature and debuted in 1965 in the literary magazine Tirade as Andreas Burnier with fragments from "De verschrikkingen van het noorden" (The horrors of the North, 1967) and published her first novel "Een tevreden lach" (A satisfied smile) that same year. Both works deal with homosexuality. In "A satisfied smile", she wrote in a natural way about her homosexual orientation. This caused a literary sensation in The Netherlands, as no female writer had done this before. But for her coming out was a relieve. She had met her first female lover, with whom she stayed for seventeen years. Her children were brought into the care of a foster home.
She had a short career as a civil servant in The Hague, but then became a research assistant at the Institute of Criminology at Leiden. In January 1971 she gained her Ph.D. in criminology under professor W. Nagel on the thesis "Foundations of theory formation in criminology". From 1973 to 1988 Burnier was professor criminology at the Radboud University of Nijmegen.
In the "De wereld is van glas" (The world is made of glass, 1997) she reconciled with her Jewish ancestry. She was involved in the erection of the Joods Educatief Centrum Crescas (1999) that was named after the medieval Spanish-Jewish philosopher and Spinoza teacher Hasdai ben Judah Crescas (c. 1340). She considered Crescas as her spiritual teacher.
On 1991 she was knighted as a member of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
She died 18 September 2002 in Amsterdam of brain haemorrhage. She was buried at the Liberal Jewish cemetery Gan Hasjalom in Hoofddorp.