Tereska Torres (born in 1920 in Paris as Tereska Szwarc) is a French writer.
Born to the Jewish Polish sculptor Marek Szwarc and his wife Guina she had to flee her native country in 1940 via Lisbon to England when France surrendered to Nazi Germany after the Battle of France while her father, serving in the Polish Armed Forces in the West, was evacuated from La Rochelle by the British Home Fleet.
When barely 18 years old Tereska enlisted in Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces Volontaires Françaises Corps. She worked as a secretary in General Charles de Gaulle's headquarter in London In October 1944 when she was five months pregnant, her first husband 20-year-old Georges Torres, stepson of pre-war French-Jewish Prime Minister Leon Blum, was killed while fighting with the 2nd Free French Armoured Division in Lorraine.
In 1947 she accompanied American novelist Meyer Levin while he filmed the documentary Al Tafhidunu (The Illegals) about Jewish refugees that fled Poland after the Holocaust and tried to reach Palestine. Her diary about her experiences on this illegal journey from Poland's destroyed cities through the displaced persons camps in Western Europe to Israel and her imprisonment there by British Forces were published so far only in German as Unerschrocken (Unafraid).
In 1948 Tereska married Meyer Levin in Paris, who urged her to publish the diary she wrote while serving in the Free French Forces. In 1950 Tereska published a fictional account of her wartime experiences under the title Women's Barracks in the United States of America, which "quickly became the first paperback original bestseller" selling over 2 million copies in its first five years, as it was the first pulp to candidly address lesbian relationships. In total 4 million copies of the book were sold in the United States and it was translated into 13 different languages. In 1952 Women's Barracks was selected as an example of how paperback books were promoting moral degeneracy, by the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials. When the book was republished by The Feminist Press in New York in 2003 the book was acclaimed as having inspired a whole new genre of lesbian and feminist writing in the US.
Tereska did not allow Women's Barracks to be published in France,. Instead her wartime diary was published as Une Française Libre.
In 1963, Tereska Torres accompanied Meyer Levin to Ethiopia, where he filmed "the fellashas" which was the first documentary about the life of Beta Israel Jews in Ambover.
Tereska wrote some further 14 books, which were often translated by her husband into English. Her best known books are:
Her yet unpublished life diary notebooks are preserved by Boston University.
She is one of a few surviving members of the "Volontaires Françaises" - the women army Corp of the Free French Forces..