Stéphane Hessel was born in Berlin in 1917 but has lived in Paris since he was seven years old. In 1939 he was mobilized just after entering university. Two years later, he joined the Resistance and, in London, joined De Gaulle’s Free French army. Caught by the Gestapo in 1944, he escaped certain death at Buchenwald after switching his identity with another prisoner. After the war he became a diplomat and worked with the United Nations. In 1948 he was part of the team that drew up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1977 he was appointed as the French ambassador to the UN in Geneva. A defender of the Palestinian cause, in recent years he travelled several times to Gaza to call attention to the situation.