3 Decades Later, Roald Dahl's Family Addresses His Anti-Semitism

Calls it 'incomprehensible' to them
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2020 12:01 AM CST
3 Decades Later, Roald Dahl's Family Apologizes for His Anti-Semitism
In a May 1966 file photo, American-born actress Patricia Neal is pictured with her husband, author Roald Dahl and their 9-month-old daughter Lucy Neal Dahl, at their home at Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.   (AP Photo, File)

Roald Dahl may have produced some of the most beloved children's books of all time, but the author also issued a number of anti-Semitic comments. Now, his family is issuing what NPR calls a belated apology. "The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologize for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl's statements," the statement reads. "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."

Among the comments made by the British author, who died in 1990, was a suggestion that there was something unlikable about Jewish people and that "even a stinker like Hitler didn't just pick on them for no reason." Jewish groups pointed out how much time had passed before an apology was finally issued, and some wondered why the family didn't take any action beyond saying a few words. The family, for its part, issued further mea culpas via the Sunday Times. "Apologizing for the words of a much-loved grandparent is a challenging thing to do, but made more difficult when the words are so hurtful to an entire community. We loved Roald, but we passionately disagree with his anti-Semitic comments." CNN notes Dahl's anti-Semitic views have long haunted his legacy, and his books have also been criticized as racist. (Read more Roald Dahl stories.)

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