• France edition
 
Writer and Resistance fighter Hessel dies at 95
Writer Stéphane Hessel dies aged 95. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

Writer and Resistance fighter Hessel dies at 95

Published: 27 Feb 2013 10:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2013 10:05 GMT+01:00

The writer and diplomat Stéphane Hessel has died aged 95, his wife announced on Wednesday. The former fighter with the French Resistance, whose book 'Indignez-Vous!' inspired the global Occupy movement died overnight on Tuesday.

France's Stéphane Hessel, who survived a concentration camp during World War II to go on to become a best-selling author and respected diplomat has died at the age of 95, his wife confirmed on Wednesday.

Hessel, whose 2010 work "Indignez-Vous!" (Time for Outrage) sold more than 4.5 million copies worldwide, died overnight, his wife Christiane Hessel-Chabry confirmed. He was a prominent Resistance figure during World War II and later widely admired as a rights activist.

Hessel was born in Berlin in 1917 but became a naturalized French citizen in 1939. His role in the French Resistance, however, led him into danger and he was arrested by the Gestapo. He was later moved to the Buchenwald and Dora concentration camps.

He survived the war and in 1948 he was involved in the editing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while working as a diplomat at the United Nations.

Hessel regularly spoke up for the cause of the downtrodden, demanding the French government provide housing for the homeless. He was also vociferous in his condemnation of Israeli rocket attacks on Lebanon.

In his book 'Indignez-Vous', Hessel argues that the French need to again become outraged like those who participated in the Resistance under General Charles De Gaulle during World War II.

His reasons for personal outrage included the growing chasm between the haves and have-nots, France's treatment of its illegal immigrants and the abuse of the environment.

His call to arms inspired the the "Occupy Wall Street" movement which began in New York's financial district and quickly spread worldwide.

In spring 2012, Hessel was a keen supporter of Socialist Party candidate François Hollande in the French presidential elections. Following Hollande's victory, Hessel spoke of the need to be patient with the new president.

In 2012 at the age of 94 in an interview with French TV TF1, a typically philosophical Hessel spoke lucidly about his inevitable death.

"Death is a big project of mine, the experience could perhaps be the most interesting of my life," he said. "It's important not to live too long. Life is enjoyable as long as you have the ability to express yourself."

"Life is behind us, for me it was beautiful," he added in an interview with Audrey Crespo-Mara

Throughout his life Hessel was honoured with numerous awards and titles including the Legion of Honour, which was bestowed upon him in 2006.

In 2011 Foreign Policy magazine named him among the world's top global thinkers "bringing the spirit of the French Resistance to a global society that has lost its heart".

Hollande's wife Valerie Trierweiler was one of the first to express her condolences over Hessel's death, paying tribute to his "extraordinary life".

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ukraine crisis
France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics
France is to send four fighter jets to patrol over the Baltics, in a show of solidarity as tension mounts of Russia's agression i nthe Ukraine. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics

France is sending four of its fighter jets to patrol over the Baltic states in a symbolic show of solidarity amid growing anxiety in the region over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. President François Hollande is also set to pay a visit to Georgia in the coming weeks. READ () »

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage
Ségolène Royal has reportedly banned women in her ministry from wearing low cut tops at work. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage

Ségolène Royal, France’s new minister for the environment has been forced to deny reports on Thursday that she had introduced some strict new rules for her staff, including a ban on women wearing low cut tops at work. READ () »

France and Canada renew feud over islands
St Pierre in the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, off the coast of Canada, which disputes France's claim on the island. Photo: Jean-Christophe L'Espagnol

France and Canada renew feud over islands

A longstanding feud over two French islands near Canada's Atlantic Coast was rekindled this week, when Ottawa contested Paris's request that the UN recognize its control of waters around Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon READ () »

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'
A study by French researchers concluded that young adults who smoke marijuana may increase risk of heart problems. Robyn Beck/AFP

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'

Young adults who smoke marijuana may be at risk of serious or even fatal heart problems, according to a study by French researchers published this week. The findings raise new concerns about the safety of marijuana. READ () »

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park
Syrian refugees children and women sit on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant parc in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park

Around 150 Syria refugees are living a desperate existence in a small park to the north of Paris. NGOs and France's Green party are urging authorities to do more to help the families while they wait for their asylum requests to be processed. READ () »

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady
A French fetishist got 18 months behind bars for a foot-licking attack on an elderly woman. File photo: Twon/Flickr

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady

A French fetishist was so smitten with an elderly lady’s feet he burst into the terrified woman's home and lunged at her trotters, which he then proceeded to sniff, lick and rub. The lewd act cost him 18 months behind bars. READ () »

Wolves continue their advance on Paris
Wolves are getting closer to Paris, but they won't be biting Parisians anytime soon. Hopefully. Photo ErranAT/flickr

Wolves continue their advance on Paris

The contentious issue of wolves in France was once again in the spotlight this week after one of the predators was captured on camera for the first time within 250 km of Paris. An expert says they will come even closer but thankfully "they won't be biting Parisians". READ () »

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs
France says its economy will grow despite billions of euros in planned budget cuts. Photo: Euros.

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs

France laid out a new package of reforms on Wednesday to respect EU rules, cut spending, boost jobs and put its economy in shape to compete on world markets. READ () »

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college
Kim Jong-un's bid to send two North Koreans to learn how to make French cheese has been refused by a prestigious French college. Photos: Zennie62/Amandabhslater/Flickr

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college

A bid by North Korea to send experts to a prestigious French cheese-making training school, seemingly at the behest of its fromage-loving leader King Jong-un, has been rejected. It did not fit with the institution's "priorities or strategy", it seems. READ () »

Paris launches new battle against French jihadists
Will a new French plan to stop the flow of jihadists to Syria have the desired effect? Photo: AFP

Paris launches new battle against French jihadists

France’s so-called top cop unveiled a dozen proposals on Wednesday aimed at stemming the flow of its residents toward the jihadist cause in Syria. Though some experts see the plan as a cynical political move ahead of European elections. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to avoid a French wedding nightmare
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why sacked French ministers deserve no pity
Gallery
How well do you know your French text message lingo?
National
Divorced from reality? French plan for puppy custody laws
Travel
'Burgundy is for wine not wind': Will wind farms ruin famous wine region?
National
Why does France have a record number of people behind bars?
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
Advertisement:
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se