Carefree vagabonds, itinerant peddlers, hokey globe-gazing fortune-tellers. Gypsies are popularly romanticised and imbued with a spirit of nomadic adventure. But there is a darker side to the mythology that presents them as petty thieves not above kidnapping children, practitioners of a dark magic, furtive and wild. The mystery of their whimsical but innocuous way of life clouds over with the suspicion that they are a people steeped in secrets, ultimately unknowable. The truth is that the Romani people, as they are known and name themselves, are descendants of exiles who fled northwest from India into eastern and central Europe, where they spread to every nation of the continent. For centuries, because of their fractured and isolated communities, the Romani have been the victims of persecution most notably in recent history by Nazi Germany whose pogroms are estimated to have murdered anywhere from 200,000 to well over 1,000,000.