Jakob Maria Mierscheid
Jakob Maria Mierscheid MdB (born March 1, 1933) has been a fictitious politician in the German Bundestag since December 11 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. He is Catholic and a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
The Mierscheid hoax was originally introduced in the 1920s by Weimar Social Democrats to avoid paying restaurant bills. He is now a widely known curiosity within the Bundestag.
In 1983 someone signing under his name published in Vorwärts magazine the still valid (as of 2002) Mierscheid Law, demonstrating a correlation between federal election results and West German industrial production.
The Bundestag official web site carries an ostensibly serious 'biography'. His fashion sense seems very antiquated and his eyeglasses were added later, because a picture of Karl Ranseier (†) is used. The site lists 615 current names although the actual membership of the Bundestag is only 614.
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).
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 (cashier 1977-1982), honorable 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. (The stone louse is a fictitious species described in the highly reputed medical Pschyrembel book series).
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.
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).
- Vorwärts, literally "Forward", from nineteenth-century revolutionary slogan "Get ahead!"