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French diplomat Hessel, ‘Occupy’ icon, dies at 95

Hessel

– 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.

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