PARIS Stephane Hessel, the French best-selling author, Resistance figure and diplomat died last night at age 95.

He is mostly known however, for his rights activism – his tireless combat for the disenfranchised and illegal immigrants, writes France 24 and is considered the father of the Occupy movement.

His 32-page essay, Indignez-Vous! (Time for Outrage!), published in 2010, sold over 2.1 million copies in France and more than a 3.5 million copies worldwide, according to Le Monde. It was translated in 34 languages and has been lauded for inspiring the global Indignados and Occupy anti-austerity movements.

In an interview with the AFP in March 2012, Hessel said: “The amazing success is still a surprise for me, but it is explained by an historical moment. Societies are lost, asking themselves how to make it through and searching a meaning to the human adventure.”

Time for Outrage! urges youths to emulate the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the "insolent, selfish" power of money and markets and by defending the social "values of modern democracy."

“The reasons for outrage today maybe less clear than during Nazi times,” he wrote, “But look around and you will find them.”

Stephane Hesse on Occupy Wall Street:

Hessel was born to a Jewish family in Berlin in 1917, and moved to France when he was seven. His parents were Franz and Helen Hessel, who along with writer Henri-Pierre Roché inspired François Truffaut’s film, “Jules and Jim.”

He was naturalized French in 1939, as WWII was starting, and in 1941, he joined the Resistance movement spearheaded by Charles De Gaulle in London. In 1944 he captured by the Gestapo and deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where he was tortured but escaped death by exchanging his identity with a prisoner who had died of typhus.

After the war ended, he participated in editing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Eleanor Roosevelt and went on to hold various posts at the UN.

In 2011, Hessel was added by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers "for bringing the spirit of the French Resistance to a global society that has lost its heart."

Stéphane Hessel

Stéphane Hessel (Wikipedia)