In many ways, the habsburg roma, or Gypsies, are a “people without history.”1 Given their nomadic existence, they left little or no imprint on the political, economic, and cultural institutions of the various dominions through which they passed. Even such staples of social historians as birth, death, and census records, land and tax registers, court transcripts, and popular newspapers bear little witness to their presence and impact. Not surprisingly, successive regimes in Vienna and other centers of power had little interest in a people who dwelled permanently only on the lower rungs of society. The Roma also had no corporate or national agenda. Although some did participate on the edges of various nineteenth-century national movements, they did so only marginally and often as Hungarians, Romanians, or Slovaks, rather than as representatives of the Roma community. Much of what we know comes not from the people themselves, but from the observations of non-Roma or gadžé (singular, gadžo; plural, gadžé or gadjé), whose accounts were often riddled with the kinds of cultural overlays and stereotypes that have haunted the Roma for centuries.