ELIYAHU MAIDANIK (1882-May 22, 1904)
He was born in Ilinets (Ilintsy), Kiev district, Ukraine. He received a traditional Jewish education, acquainting himself with the Russian and German languages, and already at age thirteen he was publishing correspondence pieces in the Russian-Jewish Voskhod (Arise). He later supported himself giving Hebrew lessons in Odessa, living in great need and publishing several stories—such as “Hakabtsan haiver” (The bind begger) and “Oneg shabat” (Enjoyment of the Sabbath)—drawn from ordinary Jewish life in the journal Hashiloaḥ (The shiloah); these stories attracted some attention from writers and readers. The Kishinev pogrom of 1903 rattled the nervous system of the sensitive Maidanik, and he took poison, leaving behind this short letter: “Ever since the pogrom in Kishinev, I have felt a pain in my heart. On several occasions I wanted to take my own life, but I was unsuccessful…. This time, it would appear, I shall succeed.” He described the internal drama that he was experiencing shortly before his death in a story entitled “Berega aḥaron” (At another time), which depicts the suicide of an intelligent young man who can find no possibility to go on living under the ongoing horror of pogroms. In 1908 his friends published a collection of his stories—Kitve eliyahu maidanik (Writings of Eliyahu Maidanik), with an introduction by Y. F. (Odessa, 1908), 143 pp. In Yiddish he published in Yud (Jew) 20 (1900) “A bletil fun mayne kinderheyt-zikhroynes” (A page from my childhood memories)—a tendentious, sentimental Lag b’Omer story. His story “Khomets” (Unleavened bread) was published in B. Shimin’s Ilustrirt-literarishes peysekh-blat (Illustrated literary Passover sheet), undated (published 1906-1907).
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Z. Shneur, in Forverts (New York) (May 27, 1932; June 10, 1932); Shneur, H. n. bialik un vene doro (Ḥ. N. Bialik and those of his generation) (Tel Aviv, 1958), pp. 275-90.