Roald Dahl’s family apologized for his ise anti-Semitism in a statement buried deeply on the author’s official website.
Dahl, who died 30 years ago, is described on the site as “the world’s foremost storyteller”, whose books – including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG – have been in the works since the 1960s.
But Dahl is also a forgotten one. In a 1983 interview with the New Statesman, he said: “There is a characteristic of the Jewish character that incites monasticism, perhaps lacking some kind of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason to crop up anywhere in opposition. “
He added: “Even stinkers like Hitler did not catch them for no reason.”
The family quietly apologized for his comments. Their statement said: “The Dahl family and the Royal Dahl Story organization deeply apologize for any permanent and understandable injuries caused by some of Roald Dahl’s remarks.
“These superstitious remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in stark contrast to the values we were familiar with at the heart of Roald Dahl’s story, which has positively impacted generations across the youth.
“We hope that, as he did his best during his worst times, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting effects of the word.”
The official biography of the author on the site makes no mention of Dahl’s antisemitic views. The family’s apology was not sent to the Jewish organization.
Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 to Norwegian parents. He was seriously injured when his gladiator crashed in Libya during his battle in the RAF. His first children’s book, The Grimlin’s, was published in 1943, followed by James and Giant Peach in 19161, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 19464, and Fantastic Mr. Fox in 1970.
He co-wrote the screenplays for the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as writing adult novels.
Many of his children’s books were adapted for movies, television and stage. In 2018, which includes data for the latest period, Dahl’s estate television and cinema posted annual pre-tax profits from a line of deals, royalties, fancy clothing and children’s toiletries.
Earlier this year, Netflix announced that Oscar-winning director Taika Waiti was making a second film about Charlie and the Factory of the Chocolate Factory and Ompa-Lumpus, a book factory worker. In October, Warner Bros. released The Witch, a film starring Anne Hathaway based on Dahl’s 1983 book of the same name.
As well as his infamous interview with the New Statesman, Dahl later admitted his dissent in a 1990 article in The Independent. He said: “I am, of course, an opponent of Israel, and as much as I have been, I am becoming an opponent. I think they need to see both sides.
“It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There are no non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – ridiculously clever work – so the President of the United States had to sell all these things to Israel. “
Shortly before his death, Dahl received a letter from two San Francisco children that read: “Dear Mr. Dahl, we like your books, but we have a problem … we are Jewish !! We like your books but you are our Don’t like it because we are Jews. Our objection! Can you change your mind about what you said about the Jews? Love, Aliza and Tamar. “
Two years ago, the Royal Mint dropped plans to celebrate Dahl’s life with a commemorative coin because of concerns about his opposition. Official documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that the Royal Mint has concluded that he is “not considered the author of the highest reputation.”