Who is Cornelia Rau? The tale Netflix's Stateless is based on
Stateless is a new six-part drama series which takes an unsparing look at the harsh conditions within Australian immigration detention centres.
Produced by Netflix, the show closely tracks the lives of four strangers as events play out at a centre located in a remote, outback location.
It stars The Handmaid's Tale actress Yvonne Strahovski as Sofie Werner, a flight attendant escaping a cult.
Sofie's character is based on Cornelia Rau, a German-born Australian resident who made headlines after being unlawfully detained at an immigration detention centre.
Here, we take a look at the true story and real figure who inspired the Netflix show...
Who is Cornelia Rau?
Rau was born in Germany in 1967, but moved to Australia at a young age and grew up in Sydney.
She later completed a diploma in leisure and recreation before beginning work as a flight attendant in 1993.
Five years on, in 1998, Rau, who was by now battling mental illness, joined the controversial sect Kenja - a company co-founded in 1982 by Ken Dyers and his partner, Jan Hamilton.
She was hospitalised several times over the next few years and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and later schizophrenia before eventually disappearing for a period in early 2004, only to be apprehended by police officers days later.
Rau - who was frightened of being tracked down by Kenja - told officers her name was Anna Brotmeyer, and later Anna Schmidt, insisting that she had flown into the country from Germany.
Officials failed to recognise her schizophrenia, however, and Rau was incarcerated at the Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre.
She was suspected of being in Australia unlawfully and eventually sent to Baxter Immigration Detention Centre, near the town of Port Augusta, in South Australia, in October 2004.
She was then held in the compound alongside an array of asylum seekers, many of whom who had spent many years at the site after their refugee claims failed.
Her real identity was finally exposed in January 2005, when Australian newspaper The Age published a story about her, calling her a mystery woman who may be ill.
Rau's family immediately recognised her and called for her release. Her case made headlines throughout Australia upon her release and, years down the line, she received $2.6 million Australian dollars in compensation for wrongful detainment.
Rau's family has now called for people to respect her and her relatives' privacy and "private grief" amid the attention whipped up by Netflix's show.
Stateless is available to stream on Netflix now
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