Sophie ZawistowskiRead about another mother on the list.
The unhappy life of Sophie Zawistowski is uncovered in flashback in William Styron’s bestselling 1979 novel. The story emerges piecemeal from Sophie, an alcoholic Polish immigrant who gradually tells the novel’s narrator about her horrific wartime experiences in Warsaw after her father and husband are murdered and she is incarcerated in Auschwitz. There she is forced by a doctor to choose which of her two children will be gassed. Sophie (played by Oscar-winning Meryl Streep in the 1982 movie) has never forgiven herself for leaving her seven-year-old daughter behind - a guilt that will destroy her.