LEYVI NYEMTSEVITSH (LEO NIEMCEWITSCH) (1876 or 1880-summer 1939)
He was born in Lublin, Poland, descended from a well-pedigreed family. He received a fervently religious education, was renowned as a child prodigy, and received ordination into the rabbinate. In 1904 he traveled abroad and studied philosophy, history, and Semitic languages at the universities in Berlin, Berne, and Strasbourg. In 1912 he received his doctor of philosophy degree for a dissertation entitled “Crescas contra Maimonides.” He began his writing career in the Hebrew language Haivri (The Jew), edited by Rabbi Meir Berlin, in Berlin, and from that point he published—also using such pen names as L. Cohen and L. Y. Lazarson—in Hatsfira (The times), Hazman (The times), and the like. He also contributed to German-Jewish publications. After returning from abroad, he was the chairman of Lubin’s Hazemir (The nightingale). At the time of WWI he was rabbi in Homel (Gomel). In 1918 he returned to Lublin and helped in the founding of the Orthodox “Aḥdut Yisrael” (Unity of Israel) which would later join “Agudat shalome emunat yisrael” (Unity of Faithful Jewry). He also placed work in: Lubliner tageblat (Lublin daily newspaper), edited by Sh. Y. Stupnitski, and the Orthodox newspaper Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word), edited by Nokhum-Leyb Vayngot, in Warsaw; Ortodoksishe yugend-bleter (Orthodox youth sheets); and Unzer veg (Our way) in Shedlets (Siedlce), edited by B. Huberman. From 1919 he was living in Warsaw. He was the founder and director of Ḥavatselet (Daffodil), the first religious high school for girls in Grodno, and he was a member of the central committee of the Unity of Faithful Jewry party. He wrote journalistic pieces in: the Orthodox daily newspaper Der yud (The Jew), Darkhenu (Our path), and Deglanu (Our nabber) in Warsaw; Yavne (Yavneh) in Lemberg; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word) in Kalish (Kalisz); among others. In the late 1920s and 1930s, he was the leader of the Orthodox teachers’ seminary Yavne in Grodno. He died in Grodno several months before the outbreak of WWII.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); M. Prager, Antologye fun religyeze lider un dertseylungen (Anthology of religious poems and stories) (New York, 1955); Prager, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956); R. Feldshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), p. 521; written information from Rabbi Dr. Meyer Shvartsman in Winnipeg, Canada.