Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Roald Dahl’s family just apologized for his Jew hatred. What were the 5 worst things he said?

The family of beloved children’s author Roald Dahl has posted a brief apology for his antisemitic statements on his website.

In 86 words — that’s three sentences — the family and the says they “deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt,” but they don’t specify the statements.

These five may well have been on their minds..

1)“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. I mean, if you and I were in a line moving towards what we knew were gas chambers, I’d rather have a go at taking one of the guards with me; but they [the Jews] were always submissive.”

2) “I am certainly anti-Israel, and I have become anti-Semitic.”

3) In book review written by Dahl in the periodical “Literary Review,” he referred to “those powerful American Jewish bankers” and accused the United States Government of being “utterly dominated by the great Jewish financial institutions over there.”

4) The Israeli military activity in Lebanon, he said, “was very much hushed up in the newspapers because they are primarily Jewish-owned … there aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere.”

5) When further discussing the Lebanon War, he wrote: “makes one wonder in the end what sort of people these Israelis are. It is like the good old Hitler and Himmler times all over again.

Thea Glassman is a Multimedia Fellow at the Forward. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theakglassman.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.