BY JOYCE SHELBY
Monday, April 28th 2008, 10:10 PM

Memories of the Holocaust are painful, heartbreaking and horrifying, but survivors are writing them down. They don’t want anyone to forget.

In October, Scholastic Paperbacks will publish “True Story of a Child in the Holocaust,” by Ruth Gruener of Mill Basin. She and her husband Jack – also a survivor – will talk about their experiences to parents and students at Intermediate School 187 in Bay Ridge on May 8.

Other survivors who once may have found it humiliating to even mention what happened to them may now be more willing to write, said psychologist Eva Fogelman.

“As they get older, they reexperience a period of mourning for the people who were killed, and want to be sure they will be remembered,” Fogelman said. “It’s also very healthy to remember the positive things that existed before the German occupation – rituals, songs, things their parents did.”

The Conference on Material Claims has issued a worldwide call for writers on the Internet at memoirs.claimscon.org.

At the Boro Park YM & YWHA, the Claims Conference and the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York are sponsoring a club for those who want to put memories on paper.

So that we may never forget

Nineteen Holocaust survivors have made contributions to an anthology now being prepared for publication, editor Simone Hirschom said. Here are two excerpts:

Magda Bergstein, 75, was a teenager in Auschwitz, the largest of the German concentration camps. Her memoirs include recollection of a concert by prisoners. She wrote:

The prisoners had built a podium and the members of the orchestra started walking up the steps to the stage. The conductress took her place and gave the signal to the young lady prisoner artist to start playing.

In a while, beautiful sonatas were heard, then a medley of famous love songs, followed by excerpts from works of several famous 19th-century composers, played exquisitely. . . . All through the concert, it was business as usual. The crematorium was working full time and the smoke of the chimneys made the beautiful sky black.

Sylvia Weiss, who was born in Germany and grew up in Romania, wrote of being at Auschwitz. A few months before the camp was liberated, Weiss was with her sister, Sara Rivka. On the last day of Succoth in 1944, Weiss wrote,

Josef Mengele, the German officer and physician known as the Angel of Death, decided to make a big decision . . .

We knew that [going] left meant the gas chamber and ultimately death, and right meant life. My sister and I made up that regardless of where she went, I would follow.

As the line progressed, my sister was told to go left. I simply followed her. . . . After a few steps, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and it was Mengele. He asked me in German, “Where are you going?” I answered that I was going left. He insisted that I go to the right. Arguing with him was useless.

I was only interested in being with my sister even if it meant taking a step toward death. . . . Hashem’s Divine plan, however, was that I should live. . . . When I turned around to look for my sister, she was already gone. And that was the last time I saw her.