PARIS – Stephane Hessel of France was a man of many talents.
As a spy for the French Resistance, he survived the Nazi death camp at Buchenwald by assuming the identity of a French prisoner who was already dead. As a diplomat, he helped write the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And at age 93, after a distinguished but relatively anonymous life, he published a slim pamphlet that even he expected would be little more than a vanity project. Au contraire.
Hessel’s 32-page Time for Outrage, or Indignez-vous in French, sold millions of copies across Europe, tapping into a vein of popular discontent with capitalism and transforming him into an intellectual superstar within weeks. Translated into English, the pocket-sized book became a source of inspiration for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In the book, Hessel urges young people to take inspiration from the anti-Nazi resistance to which he once belonged and rally against what he saw as the newest evil – the love of money.
Hessel died Wednesday in Paris. He was 95.