Andrea “Rega” Heller, of Bethesda, passed away peacefully on May 2. Rega was born in Budapest, Hungary on Sep. 10, 1921, and lived a remarkable life of nearly 100 years. During World War II, Rega survived the forced deportation march from Budapest in November 1944, and three concentration camps: Ravensbruck, Venusberg and Mauthausen. Returning home to Budapest, she was devastated to learn her parents had been murdered by the Nazis, but she was reunited with her beloved brother, Erno. Rega rebuilt her life in Russian-occupied Communist Hungary until she and her young daughter, Edie, escaped during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Once again, she rebuilt her life, this time in the United States reunited with her Hungarian husband, Andrew Heller. Shortly thereafter, they celebrated the birth of their daughter, Julia. For 23 years, Rega and Andrew built and operated Heller’s Camera in Bethesda. She is survived by her daughters, Edie and Julia (Dr. Meicahel Banaszak); and grandsons, Max (Gina Ng), Charlie and Jack Banaszak. Donations may be made to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (ushmm.org) or to HIAS (hias.org). Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.