Stephane Hessel | Spy, author, activist, 95

Posted: March 04, 2013

Stephane Hessel, 95, a concentration-camp survivor and member of the French Resistance whose 32-page book, Time for Outrage, became a best-seller and an inspiration for the left in Europe and the United States, died Tuesday in Paris.

The book came out in 2010 as a rallying cry against the gap between rich and poor. Mr. Hessel said he wanted to imbue France's youth with the fervor of those who held out against the Nazis.

Its first run was 8,000 copies. It sold millions of copies and became an inspiration for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

As a spy for the Resistance, he survived the Nazi camp at Buchenwald by assuming the identity of a French prisoner who was already dead. As a diplomat, he helped write the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At 93, he published a slim pamphlet that even he expected would be little more than a vanity project.

Time for Outrage tapped into a vein of discontent with capitalism and transformed him into an intellectual superstar in weeks.

Born in Germany, Mr. Hessel and his parents immigrated to France in 1924, where they settled into an avant-garde life. He fled to London to join the Resistance in 1941 but sneaked into France on a spy mission in 1944. The day before he was to be hanged, he swapped his identity with a prisoner who had died of typhus. - AP

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