In conversation with Ze’ev Galibov



It was while talking to Ze’ev Galibov at UCH where he has been for 54 days that we came up together with the idea of interviewing people about their lives and putting this in to a monthly column as a way of getting to know our community better.

The idea is more a ‘conversation with’… as opposed to a biography of the persons life.

Ze’ev Galibov has been a very successful Stamp collector in London for many years.

Ze’ev tells me how much he has learnt from his customers who are from all walks of life. He mentions Neville Conrad, the land developer, and Michael Sacher of Marks and Spencer fame as some of the people that he has learnt from and developed great friendships with. Many of his clients have become lifelong friends.

I mention that we are having a film and discussion in our Shul about the foundation of the IPO and its Founder Branislaw Huberman and his eyes light up.
How’s this for a coincidence? he remarks, “My brother Tzvi Galibov was sent in 1933 by the Jewish Agency in Palestine to Europe to try convince people to come to Palestine”.

As a cover he went as a musician and started having lessons with Huberman who was one of the most famous violinists in Europe at the time. It is thus no coincidence that Huberman started approaching all the top Jewish musicians from all over Europe in a bid to start the IPO.

By the way, I recommend that you see this movie, “The Orchestra of Exiles”.

He also tells a great story of how he and a friend escaped out of school and went to see the first rehearsal of the IPO together with conductor Toscanini. He remembers this as a highlight of his life, “This man with thick long flowing silver hair who threw his baton at anyone not playing to his satisfaction”.

The school told his parents that he had played truant and Ze’ev thought he was going to get “the belt” but when he explained where he was, his father was so proud of his son and jealous that he had seen the greatest conductor of their time in Israel and someone who really opposed the Nazis and Fascism, that he instead praised him and asked questions about the rehearsal.

Ze’ev also got to be at the first concert of the IPO through his brother Zvi who was a musician in the orchestra as well as attending the first Mann Auditorium concert.

We go on speaking about his shop in Upper Regents Street and how he sourced his home in Portland Place after another home deal fell through.

He mentions his love of Bucharian Jewish cooking and how another member in our community Denise Cohen asked him how to make a Bucharian Pilaf. He describes the flavor, licking his lips, after being invited to her for dinner to taste this dish. He says that the secret to this dish is in using the correct rice and knowing how to cook rice. “Each piece of rice must be separate, no sticking together”, he says.

Ze’ev  ended his conversation by saying ”Steve, I have been so lucky and I thank G-D!”


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