Roald Dahl's family apologise for author's anti-Semitic remarks

Telegraph reporters
·2-min read
There has been ongoing controversy about the legacy of the children’s author after the re-emergence of a series of remarks about the Jewish faith in his final years - Getty Images
There has been ongoing controversy about the legacy of the children’s author after the re-emergence of a series of remarks about the Jewish faith in his final years - Getty Images

The family of Roald Dahl have quietly published an apology for his perceived anti-Semitism, saying his past remarks were “incomprehensible” to them. 

There has been ongoing controversy about the legacy of the children’s author after the re-emergence of a series of remarks about the Jewish faith in his final years. 

Mr Dahl, who died in 1990 at the age of 74, said in an interview just months before his death he was “certainly anti-Israel and I have become anti-Semitic”. 

More troublingly, he suggested in a 1983 interview with the News Statesman that Hitler did not pick up on anti-Semitism “for no reason”. 

It has now emerged that his family had published a statement in a corner of his official website apologising for the views he had expressed.

It comes as several of Mr Dahl’s celebrated stories have made a return to the screen, including an animated adaptation of Matilda for Netflix and a version of The Witches, released this year. 

The streaming giant is also planning a spin-off series based on the Willy Wonka books, focusing on the Oompa-Loompas who work at his chocolate factory. 

The statement “regarding anti-Semitic comments made by Roald Dahl” was signed by the Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the rights of the author’s characters and stories.

It 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's 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.”

There was reportedly no publicity surrounding the statement and no Jewish groups were informed of the move. 

The Roald Dahl Story Company addressed the discrete publication of the statement on Saturday night.

“We loved Roald, but we passionately disagree with his anti-Semitic comments,” it said in a statement to The Sunday Times. 

“This is why we chose to apologise on our website, an apology easily found on Google.”