Jakob Maria Mierscheid
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Jakob Maria Mierscheid MdB has been a fictitious politician in the German Bundestag since 11 December 1979. He was then the alleged deputy chairman of the Mittelstandsausschuss (Committee for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses) of the Bundestag in 1981 and 1982. According to his official biography, he was born in Morbach/Hunsrück, a very rural constituency in Rhineland-Palatinate. He is Catholic and a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
The Mierscheid hoax was said to have been originally introduced as early as in the 1920s by Weimar Social Democrats to avoid paying restaurant bills. He is now a widely known curiosity within the Bundestag and uses Twitter as means of communication.
In 1983 the party magazine Vorwärts published the still valid (as of 2002[update]) Mierscheid Law and claimed Mierscheid as the author, demonstrating a correlation between federal election results and West German industrial production.
The Bundestag official web site carries an ostensibly serious 'biography' and a photograph purporting to depict Mierscheid. In previous versions of the photograph his fashion sense seemed very antiquated and his eyeglasses were added later. The current (2010) image shows a balding man sitting in a chair, facing away from the camera, in the middle of the empty Hall of Representatives. The site lists 615 current names although the actual membership of the Bundestag is only 614. Mierscheid has his own stationery and e-mail address and issues press releases now and then. The picture of Mierscheid at the Bundestag is based on the RTL Samstag Nacht character Karl Ranseier.
The hoax is paralleled in Germany in a number of other areas, for example Friedrich Nagelmann is a known (fictional) lawyer and Edmund F. Dräcker is a known (fictional) diplomat. Mierscheid, Nagelmann and Dräcker each have a long list of publications which have sometimes really been published in otherwise reputable media (science journals, parliament press) - non-native readers might be fooled here (compare April Fools' Day).
They are used as well as test persons in questionnaires, to allow to distinguish between the real and guessed popularity of certain persons.
The biography of Jakob Maria Mierscheid is that of a backbencher with a list of humble career steps. The official biography of the German parliament lists him as a member of the Trade Union of Peasants and Lumber Jacks, member of the Sport Friends Club (treasurer 1977-1982), honorary member of the Choral Society of the Trade Union for Wood and Plastics Workers. First listed as official delegate to the Social Democrat Party congress in Hannover 1960, Mierscheid first visited the West German capital in 1967.
In 1967–68 he wrote a four-part series about the "travel routes of the ring-tailed wood pigeons and its avionics" in the Central Journal of the Carrier Pigeon Breeder Association, reprinted 1969 in the Swiss-confederate journal "Homing Pigeon Correspondences". He entered the parliament in 1979. Following his time as deputy chairman of the Mittelstandsausschuß (similar to the US Small Business Committee) of the Bundestag in 1981 and 1982, he wrote an article on the "Mierscheid Law" in the Social Democrats' central journal Vorwärts published on 14 July 1983.
His activities continued with an article in Vorwärts titled "The Solution: More market than corruption" published on 12 January 1985, and in 1993 he authored "Ecological data on the CFC replacement R134a" for the third Höchst Stone Louse Symposium in Frankfurt.
There are some approved biography books like that of Peter Raabe: "Documented Trails of a Phantom", Hannover 1986. Later Dietrich Sperling and Friedhelm Wollner published "Jakob Mierscheid, Notes on the Life of a Member of Parliament: a Political Holography" in 1998.
On 11 December 2004, Mierscheid celebrated his 25th anniversary as member of the Bundestag. 1 March 2013 the President of the German Bundestag Mr. Norbert Lammert said an official congratulation on occasion of Mierscheid's 80th birthday. To a welcome-party at Mierscheid's home-town Merscheid he did not show up
In July 2005 the German Tagesschau announced the exit of Mierscheid from SPD to the German Linkspartei and WASG. Mierscheid's angry dementi was announced both by the Tagesschau, and an interview in Der Spiegel.
After the parliament moved to Berlin, two new office buildings for members of parliament were connected with a pedestrian bridge over the Spree river. This bridge was nicknamed the "Mierscheid Bridge". Attempts to mark it with an official plate were said to have failed because "the nails were nuts" (pun on Niete meaning nut/rivet, a blank in lottery or a person that is unable to accomplish anything).
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
- Der Spiegel, 09.04.2009, Die Welt der Phantome, Von Jochen Leffers, 2. Teil: Zwitschern mit Jakob Maria Mierscheid (The World of Phantoms, Twittering with JMM)
- "Abgeordnete: Jakob Maria Mierscheid, SPD". Deutscher Bundestag. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- which are in fact answered by one of the SPD MoPs
- a fictitious person whose obituary appears in various forms as a running gag
- Vorwärts, literally "Forward", from 19th-century revolutionary slogan "Forward"
- (The Stone louse is a fictitious species described in the highly reputed medical Pschyrembel book series).
- tagesschau.de: "Ich gehöre zu den Säulen des Staatswesens" (I belong to the columns of statehood), 12. Dezember 2004[dead link]
- "Bundestagspräsident gratuliert Jakob Mierscheid". YouTube. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Großer Bahnhof für den großen Bundestagsabgeordneten". Volsfreund.de. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- [dead link]
- "Bertrittsgerüchte: Mierscheid schließt nichts aus". SPIEGEL ONLINE. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Deutscher Bundestag (1 August 2009). "Deutscher Bundestag: Web-Archiv". WEbarchiv.bundestag.de. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- (German) Mierscheids entry as MdB on the Bundestag's website
- (German) Mierscheid weblog
- (German) Twitter of Mierscheid
- "The phantom of the Bundestag". The Economist. 2014-12-10.