The Roald Dahl Museum, which is based in the United Kingdom, has placed a plaque acknowledging the famed children’s book author’s antisemitism three years after the museum’s initial apology and acknowledgment in 2020.
On the museum’s website, the post addressing the issue condemns all forms of racism before defining what antisemitism is and then apologizing for the harm caused by Dahl.
"The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by Roald Dahl's antisemitic statements,” The Roald Dahl Story company wrote. “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.”
The museum explained that, while they have kept a record of antisemitic statements Dahl made, they are making the decision to not share those statements publicly.
In an effort to “make further contributions towards combatting hate and prejudice” the museum said that they have been engaging with the Jewish community, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust, and the Antisemitism Policy Trust.
In another post, the museum wrote that they “do not seek to celebrate Roald Dahl as a flawless person.”
“In his life, Roald Dahl was a contradictory person. He could be kind; he often helped people, donated to charity, and contributed to medical science. However, there are also recorded incidents of him being very unkind and worse, including writing and saying antisemitic things about Jewish people.”
Roald Dahl’s history of antisemitic statements
In an interview with the New Statesman in 1983, cited by The Guardian, 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. 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.”
The Guardian also reported that earlier this year, Dahl’s editors acknowledged that chunks of his work had been rewritten because Dahl used offensive language, although it was not said if this language was antisemitic.