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France’s Hessel, Who Inspired Occupy Wall Street, Dies

France’s Hessel, Who Inspired Occupy Wall Street, Dies at 95
Author Stephane Hessel poses after a press conference to present the film "Indignados" on Feb. 10, 2012 in Berlin. Photographer: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Stephane Hessel, the author of the best-selling book “Indignez-vous!,” which inspired protests like “Occupy Wall Street” in New York and Los Indignados in Spain, has died. He was 95.

The former United Nations diplomat, concentration-camp survivor and hero of the French Resistance, died “during the night,” his wife, Christiane Hessel-Chabry, told Agence France-Presse.

Hessel became famous in 2010 when he published his 32-page protest manifesto, with millions of copies that went into print in 30 languages -- including an English version titled “Time for Outrage.”

Drawing on his experience in the Resistance, Hessel called on his readers to remember -- and continue to fight for -- the Four Freedoms outlined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union address: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

“His universal message awakened people’s conscience on all continents and for all generations,” French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement. “There’s no doubt his work and his courage will continue to inspire women and men fighting for freedom.”

Hessel wrote on the importance of indignation and encouraged “our younger generations” to rekindle the spirit of the Resistance in a non-violent battle against injustice.

“It’s time to take over! It’s time to get angry!” he wrote. “Politicians, economists, intellectuals, do not surrender! The true fabric of our society remains strong. Let us not be defeated by the tyranny of the world financial markets that threaten peace and democracy everywhere. I wish all of you to find your reason for indignation. This is a precious thing.”

Born in Berlin in 1917, Hessel moved to France in his childhood and became a French citizen. He participated in the UN group that drafted the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights, adopted in 1948. He later worked in Vietnam and Algeria and participated in French politics.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net

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