Reggie (Regine) Heller Richman, née Helfgott, was born in Munich in December, 1927. As her parents fled Germany she was left behind with her older sister who had papers to go to England as England was looking to train people to become nurses. Reggie was left in Alsace with an aunt who put her into an orphanage run by the Jewish Committee.
Near the time of her fourteen birthday, a French Catholic university professor went to the orphanage and said she wanted to save a Jewish child. The orphanage gave Regine to the woman. The woman took Reggie to her elderly parents who lived on a farm in Massif Central in southern France. Reggie hid her identity as a Jew as she lived with this family from 1941 until the end of the war.
Through the efforts of the Red Cross, Reggie was reunited with her parents and brother who had been hiding in Belgium. She learned that her other brother had died in Auschwitz at age 19.
Reggie emigrated to the United States in 1948, where a judge changed their last name from Helfgott to Heller. She lived in Minneapolis, MN. In 1953 she married Jack Richman, a survivor of the Kovno Ghetto and Dachau and they made their life in Chicago where they raised three children.
Reggie went to college at age 42 to train to become a French teacher. She never forgot the righteous French Catholic people who saved her life when she was all alone in the world.
Sadly, Reggie died of Covid on April 10, 2020. She died alone, by herself, unable to be surrounded by any loved one. Her memory is a blessing and she will never be forgotten by those she loved and those who loved her.