Roald Dahl family apologises for author’s anti-Semitic comments

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's family has apologised for anti-Semitic comments made by the author.

The creator of books such as Matilda, The BFG, The Witches and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory died at the age of 74 in 1990 but has since regularly topped lists of the nation's favourite authors and his stories continued to be beloved by children around the world.

However, anti-Semitic comments he made have cast a shadow over his personal legacy.

The statement posted on the Dahl website (Roald Dahl Story Company/PA)

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."

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Author Roald Dahl, smoking a pipe in his home, United Kingdom, 1965 (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
The bestselling children's writer Roald Dahl (1916-1990) whose stories include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, 1971. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990), British novelist, at home with daughters Tessa and Olivia, 1960. (Photo by Ben Martin/Getty Images)
Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990), British novelist, 1960. (Photo by Ben Martin/Getty Images)
British novelist Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990) with his wife, American actress Patricia Neal (1926 - 2010), circa 1968. (Photo by David Farrell/Getty Images)
14th August 1965: Welsh-born author Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990) smiles with his wife, American actor Patricia Neal and their newborn daughter Lucy, outside their home in Buckinghamshire, England. Neal was recovering from several strokes. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Portrait of British author Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990) as he sits in an armchair and spokes a pipe, July 1965. (Photo by Leonard McCombe/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
British novelist, Roald Dahl smoking pipe while playing with a child and pet bird, United Kingdom, 1965 (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
Roald Dahl showing words to his son, United Kingdom, 1965 (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
Portrait of writer Roald Dahl in Central Park, while host of the television show 'Way Out', March 25, 1961. New York City. Image dated March 25, 1961. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Closeup candid portrait of writer Roald Dahl waving a cigarette while talking at home. (Photo by Ian Cook/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
41ST ACADEMY AWARDS - Coverage of Arrivals at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion - Airdate: April 14, 1969. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ROALD DAHL;PATRICIA NEAL
Writer Roald Dahl holds onto his cane while standing outside the shed where he writes; Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England. (Photo by Ian Cook/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
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He added: "Even a stinker like Hitler didn't just pick on them for no reason."

A statement from the Dahl family has now been posted on the website of The Roald Dahl Story Company under the title: "Apology for anti-Semitic comments made by Roald Dahl."

First reported by the Sunday Times, it says: "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."

Dahl's works continue to be popular for film and stage adaptations.

A new version of The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway, was released earlier this year, while Hollywood stars including Johnny Depp, Mark Rylance, and Danny DeVito have all appeared in big screen versions of his stories.

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