The family of Roald Dahl apologized for his anti-Semitism in a statement buried deep in the author’s official website
Dahl, who died 30 years ago, has been described on the site as “the world’s new storyteller”, whose books – including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and the BFG – have enthralled children since the 1960s.
But Dahl was also an anti-Semite. In an interview with New Statesman in 1983, he said: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that evokes hostility, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity against non – Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti -Something crops somewhere. ”
He added: “Even a stinker like Hitler did not just pick them up for no reason.”
Now the family has quietly apologized for his comments. Their statement said: “The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company apologize for the lasting and understandable harm caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements.
“Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in stark contrast to the person we know and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have had a positive effect on young people for generations.
“We hope that Roald Dahl, as soon as he has done his best, at his worst, can help us remember the lasting effect of words.”
Dahl’s anti-Semitic views are not mentioned in the author’s official biography of the site. The family’s apology was not sent to Jewish organizations.
Dahl was born in 1916 in Wales to Norwegian parents. During his war service in the RAF, he was severely injured when his gladiator crash-landed in Libya. His first children’s book, The Gremlins, was published in 1943, followed by James and the Giant Peach in 1961, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1964 and Fantastic Mr Fox in 1970.
He has also written screenplays for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and written novels.
Many of the children’s books were adapted as films for television and on stage. In 2018, the last time for which data exists, the Dahl estate posted annual profits of £ 12.7m for the tax on TV and cinema deals, royalties, excellent costumes and a line of baby toiletries.
Earlier this year, Netflix announced that Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi had made an animated series about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a second film about the Oompa-Loompas, the factory workers in the book. In October, Warner Bros. released The Witches, a film based on Dahl’s 1983 book of the same name, directed by Anne Hathaway.
In addition to his notorious interview with the New Statesman, Dahl later confirmed his anti-Semitism in an article in The Independent in 1990. He said: “I am certainly anti-Israel, and I became anti-Semitic in how much you get a Jewish person. In another country like England strongly support Zionism.I think they should see both sides.
“This is the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest. There are no non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – happy to do – therefore the President of the United States has to sell all these things to Israel. . ”
Shortly before his death, Dahl received a letter from two children in San Francisco, which read: “Dear Mr. Dahl, we love your books, but we have a problem … we are Jews !! We love your “Books, but you do not like us because we are Jews. That offends us! Can you please change your mind about what you said about Jews? Love, Eliza and Tamar.”
With two years ago, the Royal Mint dropped plans to celebrate Dahl’s life with a commemorative coin because of concerns about his anti-Semitic opinion. Official newspapers received by the Guardian disclosed that the Royal Mint found that he was “not considered as an author of the highest reputation”.