By Oisin Sweeney • 06 December 2020 • 18:40
THE FAMILY and estate of Roald Dahl have issued an official apology for anti-Semitic comments made by the beloved author.
Despite his immortal literary reputation, numerous comments made by the author during his lifetime have now become the subject of controversy due to potential anti-Semitism. These include an interview with New Statesman magazine in 1983, in which Dahl said that ‘there is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews.’ He continued to say ‘there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere’ and that ‘even a stinker like Hitler didn’t pick on them for no reason’.
His family has now condemned these comments, saying that the author’s estate ‘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 o the values at the heart of his stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations.’ In 2018 it was reported that the estate of Roald Dahl earned over £12 million in royalties from book sales, film adaptations, and merchandise.
In a 1990 Independent article, Dahl wrote that ‘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’ which is perceived by many to be anti-Semitic. The estate wrote in their apology that they hope ‘just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help us understand the lasting impact of words’.
The British writer is regarded as one of the most talented storytellers in the history of children’s literature, with his classic novels such as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘the BFG’ beloved by children and grown-up across the world. Dahl was also an accomplished writer of uniquely unsettling adult short stories as well as screenplays, including the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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