The family of late author Roald Dahl, who wrote such children’s classics as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda,” issued an apology for his “incomprehensible” anti-Semitic comments.
“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,” the letter posted on his official site said.
It goes on: “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.”
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In 1983, Dahl — whose books also include “James and the Giant Peach,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The Witches” — wrote a review that appeared in the Literary Review of “God Cried,” a picture book about the 1982 Lebanon War. He said in that piece, “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. Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”
A few months before his death in 1990, Dahl told The Independent, “I’m certainly anti-Israel and I’ve become antisemitic inasmuch as that you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism.”
He was roundly attacked at the time for his statements and his words were never forgotten by many and cast a shadow over his literary legacy. The Royal Mint had planned to commemorate him with a special edition coin in 2014, but those plans were scrapped because of his anti-Semitic views, saying he was “not regarded as an author of the highest reputation.”
Dahl’s books have sold more than 250 million copies.