Clock given to Holocaust center on Long Island tells family's story

Rosette Priever Gerbosi remembers like it was yesterday. The mahogany art deco clock that hung inside her family's home in Paris was a symbol of success.

"I used to take my little doll carriage, we had a large dining room table and I used to walk around and around," she said. "It brings back some happy memories as well as some bittersweet memories."

After the Nazis invaded France in the 1940s, she went into hiding and so did the clock. Her brother, Bernard, joined the French Resistance. Her parents were arrested, sent to Auschwitz, and ultimately died in the gas chambers.

"The clock was a link to our past, a link to our beautiful, wonderful, family life," she said.

After Allied forces defeated the Nazis in 1945, Rosette returned to Paris to find that all of her belongings were gone. Her brother managed to retrieve the clock from a neighbor.

When the two reunited in New York, the clock was the only thing Bernard brought with him.

"When he got off the ship, he was cradling a large object in his arms — it was the clock," she said.

It stayed at her brother's home until he died last year. Rosette's son, Rob Fishman, is vice-chair of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove. He held onto the clock until he made the decision to donate the family heirloom.

"We want the clock to really be representative of what the world was like during this time and how the clock's journey through all the adversity and the horrors ended up back in our hands," Fishman said.

The museum tells us the clock reveals a story about perseverance.

"We hope people will take away some sense of the history of the Holocaust and perhaps these days in particular some sense about the need and ability to be resilient," said Thorin Tritter, director of museum and programming at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center.

It also tells a story about time.

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