Pastor Hermann Eggersmann has seen him pass by countless times from his base in the Rotterdam district of Midland. downtown. Slobodan Zekic lived on Volmarijnstraat, near the vicarage. In a long white painted coat with metal plates and pins. Spiked black hair with a good sheen. No teeth, sunglasses. The people of Rotterdam – almost everyone knows the look – saw rock star Rod Stewart in him. Someone thought that Zekic was a strange young man who had lost his way. The other thought it was brilliant.
Zekic, nicknamed Jack, said he dressed to keep his distance from a journalist in Rotterdam in 2014. He had little contact with locals. Good morning neighbour, good morning neighbour. said neighbor Rhett Host. He didn’t have time for friends. Zekic was on a mission. This was evident from his business card with the inscription: “Embassy of Heaven in Hell.” In retrospect, you can also see his coat of arms as a prophet’s cloak, Eiserman believes. “He sounded the alarm, as did John the Baptist before the coming of Jesus Christ.”
Slobodan Zekic was born on August 26, 1945 in the Yugoslav city of Sremska Mitrovica and had a brother and a sister. What his parents did is unknown. Zekic trained as a waiter. Relatives died during the Yugoslav civil war, says his partner Dragica.
As a little boy he went to Paris, where he was called Jacques. He has kept that name ever since. Zekic lived in Paris for six years and worked in a Yugoslav women’s restaurant. Then he returned to his hometown.
Dragica met in elementary school. Dragica says the teachers already thought he was special. After his return from Paris, she fell in love with him. “His stature, he was so beautiful. Sophisticated. Adult. Intelligent. Greatest love of my whole life.”
Dragica and Jack leave for Rotterdam. The plan was to emigrate to America, but they got stranded in the port city. Jack became a heating repairman. “I felt better in Rotterdam,” says Dragica. Both felt that Zekić’s mission was on the Maas.
fifty years together
Dragica, a slim, short woman with long ash-blonde hair, shuffles between life and death, now that the man she was “fortunate enough to live with for fifty years” is gone. She preferred euthanasia. “The neighbors and the priest keep me alive.” Zekic has also written and read about euthanasia. “He wanted it.”
Every day, Jack, who is no longer in paid employment, can be found at the Central Library in Black. On the first floor, where the newspapers and magazines are and next to the stairs there is a copier. He borrowed books from the Departments of Theology, History, Evidence Gathering, and Signs of Earthly Hell. Although he had been there daily for decades, the librarians had little contact with him.
Zekić wrote down his thoughts and ideas in a neat, regular handwriting, which was discovered by the priest when he began reading his writings after his death. Zekic quoted Dante’s view of Hell. “He felt there were negative forces in the world that were making life difficult,” Eiserman says.
Dragica and Jacques’ house is like one big bookcase, with white bookshelves filled with reference material stuffed with scraps. The book is above the stairwell God and gods from Couperus. At the window is Zekic’s desk. He filled stacks of notebooks. His long coat hangs on a closet in the middle of the house. “It all depends on how he left it. Our house is dedicated to him.”
Dragica showed Pastor Eggersman a good thumbs-up note from a psychosocial nurse from Riagg Rijnmond. Zekic went there because he thought he had gone mad, he told the Rotterdam Journalist in 2014. The nurse wrote: “Mr. Slobodan is God, he thinks. I can’t prove otherwise, not even that he is God. Mr. Slobodan managed to convince me through study.” subjectivity that the end of the world may be near.” For Jack, that was the proof: that he was God on Earth.
Dragica and Jacques lived together in different places in Rotterdam and moved often because their home was going to be demolished. Or, as with their last home, because, as Neighbor Host knows, the street can’t get along with them. They ended up on Volmarijnstraat.
Hoste has learned not to judge when people do something she’s not used to. Dragica was once asked by a woman to hang curtains. Dragica asked Hoste: Is this necessary? “No, girl,” Host told her. “If that doesn’t bother you yourself.”
Zekic had a particular allergy to animals. Susan’s neighbor saw him give water to pigeons and other birds with an ingenious system. Zekic’s eye fell on a stray white and yellow patched kitten that Host was tending to. “Can I take her with me?” Host asked. Hangover Bob still lives with Dragica and spends a lot of time under Jacques’ bed.
From 1991, the municipality announced major renovation plans for the street. The municipality also wanted to demolish Dragica and Jack’s house. There will be no place for them. The neighborhood revolted. And Susan, the downstairs neighbor in particular, stood up for them. The battle, which lasted more than a decade, was a success: there was still room for social housing and Dragica and Jack were allowed to stay. They moved to another house down the street – Dragica still lives there today.
“Jack is dead!” She said suddenly at the end of October when she met Hoste at the Albert Heijn. He crashed in traffic – it is not clear how much he sought out the accident himself. “We decided to leave it at that,” says Pastor Eggersman. Host called in the priest and the other residents of the street. Together they helped Dragica arrange the funeral.
In the months leading up to his death, Jack had to go to Erasmus MC. The doctor found scratches in his lung. Maybe he had cancer. More research is needed to determine this.
Dragica read from Jack’s work at the funeral and wanted to distribute it. “He hoped we would further his mission and message: a community where life is good for all,” the pastor said during the service.
You can talk about suicide on the National Suicide Prevention 113 helpline. Tel: 0800-0113 or www.113.nl