WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – For a Rocky Hill woman who is 89-years-old, the images of the violence and the refugees streaming out of her homeland in Ukraine are almost too much to bear. It also brings her back to the start of WWII.

89-year-old Melanie Kuzma reads from a book she wrote for her children.

“’Early spring began the reign of terror by the Nazi regime against the Jewish population of Poland, Ukraine, and other eastern European countries,’” Kuzma read.

It’s to teach them what she went through, what the world was like all those years ago.

“It is important to me that family know the kind of people we were and how we came to be in the United States,” Kuzma said.

The current images of destruction and brutality hit home. Kuzma’s story is different, but with common themes.

“Everyone was afraid. We couldn’t go to church and it was awful,” Kuzma said.

In the early days of WWII, her parents did an extraordinary thing. They hid 18 Jewish neighbors in their home in Ukraine in the basement, the attic and the carriage house.

“Mama calmed me down and said, ‘don’t talk to anyone whatever you saw. We will shelter them until a safer place is found,’” Kuzma said.

She doesn’t know what happened to all of them. Her family had to flee Ukraine as well when she was 11-years-old. The images of Ukrainian children, losing their sense of safety and security, is almost too much to bear.

“It’s been difficult. I have to put my mind somewhere else. I have to watch a movie because all I do is cry,” Kuzma said.

She can’t believe she’s seeing some aspect of history repeat themselves and is praying for change.