Think that Germans don’t do whimsy? Well think again as the Wikiworm reveals this bizarre wikipedia article about a fictional german politician …
Jakob Maria Mierscheid 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.
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 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.
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 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 been published in otherwise reputable media (science journals, parliament press).
These fictitious characters are used as well as test persons in questionnaires, to allow to distinguish between the real and guessed popularity of certain persons.