Roald Dahl’s family have apologised for his anti-semitic beliefs

The family of the late Roald Dahl have quietly apologised for anti-semitic comments made by the author over 30 years ago.

Buried deep within the Roald Dahl website (seriously it took me hours to find) was an apology surrounding anti-semitic statements made by late author in a 1983 and 1990 interview.

What moved the family to apologise now, 30 years after the death of the highly acclaimed children’s author, is a mystery. But, according to the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BDBJ): “it should have happened a long time ago”. 

roald dahl
Image: Daily Mail

The British author, whose works still impact readers to this day, had his “legacy tarnished” after making anti-semitic comments in an interview with Britain’s New Statesman magazine in 1983.

Dahl stated: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews… even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason”.


In another interview, the year of his death, he stated: “It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – jolly clever thing to do”. 

The family apologised for the statements, saying that they were “incomprehensible” and starkly contrasted with the man they knew. The President of the BDBJ notes that she is concerned the apology happened too quietly, arguing that it should be restated on September 13, Roald Dahl Day.

Why the family felt the need to make the apology so long after Dahl’s death remains a mystery. With Warner Bros. recent film adaptation of The Witches, and Netflix announcing that Taika Waititi will be making an animated series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, bringing the late author’s personal views into the limelight may just tarnish future works to come.