Holocaust Museum To Visitors: Please Stop Catching Pokemon Here

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Almost everywhere you turn, it seems, people have their eyes glued to smartphone screens playing Pokémon Go. Since its launch last week, the app has quickly become a cultural phenomenon that has fans of all ages hunting around their neighborhoods for collectible digital creatures that appear on players’ screens as they explore real-world locations.

But there’s at least one place that would really like to keep Pokémon out: the Holocaust Museum.

The museum, along with many other landmarks, is a “PokéStop” within the game – a place where players can get free in-game items. There are three PokéStops associated with various parts of the museum.

“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Post. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”

The Holocaust Museum’s plight highlights how apps that layer a digital world on top of the real one can create awkward situations, especially since the owners of the physical locations often cannot weigh in on how their spaces are being used.

One image circulating online appears to show a player encountering an unsettling digital critter inside the museum: a Pokémon called Koffing that emits poisonous gas floating by a sign for the museum’s Helena Rubinstein Auditorium. The auditorium shows the testimonials of Jews who survived the gas chambers.

The image, which appears to have originated from a now deleted post on the photo-sharing site imgur, might be a hoax: That particular Pokémon didn’t appear nearby when this Post reporter visited the museum Monday afternoon, although the specific Pokémon that appears in each location does vary from time to time. Hollinger said that the museum is concerned about the potential Koffing appearance.

Niantic did not immediately respond to inquiries about the alleged Koffing sighting or if there was any way to honor the Holocaust Museum’s request to stop Pokémon from popping up inside its building.

Hollinger stressed that the museum is generally pro-technology and encourages visitors to use social media to share how their experiences with the exhibits moved them. “But this game falls very much outside that,” he said.

On Monday afternoon, there were plenty of people inside the museum who seemed to be distracted from its haunting exhibits as they tried to “catch ’em all,” as the Pokémon slogan goes. A player even used a lure module, a beacon that attracts Pokémon to a specific PokéStop, on the museum’s marker – making double-headed bird-like creatures dubbed Doduos and rodent-like Rattatas practically swarm on users’ screens.

The player behind the lure, a 30-year-old visiting from North Carolina named Dustin who declined to share his last name with The Post for privacy reasons, was excited to catch a crustacean-like Krabby while waiting in the museum’s lobby with a group of friends to pick up tickets for a scheduled tour.

Although the museum is uncomfortable with its Pokémon infestation, most of the players building up their digital critter collection inside the building at least didn’t seem to mean any disrespect.

“It’s not like we came here to play,” said Angie, a 37-year-old member of Dustin’s group who also declined to share her last name for privacy reasons, “But gotta catch ’em all.”

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Andrea Peterson 



  1. Fidelity for the pokemon-generation’s smart ace. But this is offensive.

    Scary in the thought that our museum will be their cave to see their blind magazined humor.

    Stump against this one. It is offensive.

  2. I have never set foot in so-called holocaust museums and much less would I bring children there. They celebrate death, rather than life. Kids should have fun, especially Jewish kids each one of whom is a miracle, and we all should make fun of evil. The memory of evil must fade away, and people should laugh, except on Tisha B’Av (unless one has a minhag to do so).

    • You are a total ignoramus and have not learned true fear of G-d or fear of G-ds world. The world can be readjusted over years, but we must remember. That is a commanded asset of Torah faith.

      There is only a celebration of life. Survival. Your opine and mad convex missed thought process is what is wrong with the jews in your community who are so far insular that you are coming out your own wrong head. The sadness is we can not make kiruv with you to find Torah, you dropped it long way back before you found out that Hashem was our King and not our Wash Timing for the world you want to insulate from just the humanity that we have lost.

      Seriously, would you rather see more people who are antisemites running around telling us that it will “fade” away? Evil does not fade. It must be addressed.

      Quite scary poor mind mentality. Perhaps you should visit indeed. Or else maybe you have no interest in holocaust education. Either way, you are a very rare prattle I hope. We know that Remembrance is Torah.

      Good luck.


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