ATLAS, JECHEZKIEL (1913–1942), physician and a leader of Jewish partisans fighting the Nazis in Poland. Atlas was born in Rawa-Mazowiecka, Poland, and studied medicine in France and Italy. With the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 Atlas and his parents were in Kozłowszczyzna, an area under Soviet occupation. When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, they sent Einsatzgruppen to murder Jews, Soviet commissars, and gypsies. Ghettoization followed the murder. Atlas' parents and sister died in the ghetto on November 24, 1941. He remained alone and like so many partisans without the bonds of family. He went to serve as a doctor in the village of Wielka-Wola and as a physician to Soviet troops who had escaped to the forests. Atlas organized young Jews who had managed to escape from the nearby Dereczyn ghetto on the day of its liquidation as a partisan group. He obtained weapons for them and became their commander under the authority of a Soviet partisan commander. The Soviets initially wanted his services as a physician, but as he was a skilled tactician, the partisans insisted that he lead a combat team. Atlas initiated attacks on the German garrisons in Dereczyn in August 1942, in Kozłowszczyzna in September killing 44 policemen, and in Ruda-Jaworska in October of that year, killing 127 Germans, capturing 75, and seizing much needed arms and ammunition. He headed a sabotage team which blew up a train on the Lida-Grodno line, and which burned a strategic bridge on the Niemen (Neman) River. He also led his fighters into battle when the Germans carried out a reprisal against the partisans (Sept. 15, 1942) and captured a German plane that had made a forced landing in the area (Oct. 2, 1942). Atlas was wounded in the battle at Wielka-Wola, dying from his wounds in December 1942.
Tushnel, in: Y. Suhl (ed.), They Fought Back (1967), 253–9; Bornstein, in: Extermination and Resistance, publ. by the Ghetto Fighters House, 1 (1958), 121–8; idem, in: M. Barkai (ed.), Fighting Ghettos (1962), 217–40; idem, Peluggat ha-Doktor Atlas (19652); M. Kahanovich, Milḥemet ha-Partizanim ha-Yehudim be-Mizraḥ Eiropah (1954); Y. Granestein and M. Kahanovich, Leksikon ha-Gevurah (1965), 52–54; Yad Vashem Bulletin, no. 8–9 (1961), 41–43; N. Levin, The Holocaust (1968), 368–70.
[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.