Roald Dahl's family issue online apology for the late authors antisemitic comments - what the writer said

Roald Dahl was the creator behind beloved books such as Matilda, The BFG, The Witches and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. He passed away at age 74 in 1990, and has frequently topped the lists of the nation's favourite authors as his stories remain enjoyed by children around the world today.

However, anti-Semitic comments made by Dahl has prompted the Dahl family to issue an apology.

Anti-Semitic statements

In an interview with the New Statesman in 1983, the author said: "There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it's a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews.

"I mean, there's always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere."

He added: "Even a stinker like Hitler didn't just pick on them for no reason."

According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Dahl also “claimed that Jews owned the media and that positive American relations towards Israel was because of excessive Jewish power”.

Dahl’s comments led to the Royal Mint refusing to issue a commemorative coin to celebrate the centenary of Dahl’s birth, in 2014.

Apology from the Dahl family

The statement on the official Dahl website said, “The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements.

“Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations.

“We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”

‘Apology should have come sooner’

A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was “disappointing” that the Dahl family “waited 30 years to make an apology”.

They said, “The admission that the famous author’s antisemitic views are ‘incomprehensible’ is right. For his family and estate to have waited 30 years to make an apology, apparently until lucrative deals were signed with Hollywood, is disappointing and sadly rather more comprehensible.

“It is a shame that the estate has seen fit mere to apologise for Dahl’s anti-Semitism rather than to use its substantial means to do anything about it.

“The apology should have come much sooner and been published less obscurely, but the fact that it has come at all - after so long - is an encouraging sign that Dahl’s racism has been acknowledged even by those who profit from his creative works, which so many have enjoyed.”