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IT IS 1914 and war clouds are gathering over Europe. To escape the inevitable conflict, Austrian-born Helga Steinhardt migrates to Australia. The country is caught up in anti-German hysteria and she is abused and interned. Repatriated to Germany, bitter and hating Australians, she becomes wealthy, a contributor to Nazi Party funds and the paramour of the sadistic Josef Klutzke, one of Hitlers main medical assassins. He smuggles her out of Germany on the eve of hostilities in 1939 and she returns to Australia with the aim of using her money for revenge on those who treated her so badly. Klutzke, on the run as a war criminal, makes it to Australia and is sheltered by his former lover who has added to her wealth through sly grog, gambling and prostitution. Her flintlike meanness earns Helga Steinhardt the name Ma Stoneheart. She dies violently taking with her Skinny Thompson, the only person who loved her and who gives his life trying to save her. With no family or friends, Ma Stonehearts wealth goes into consolidated revenue of the country she hated.

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