The Gypsies (Rom, in the preferred vernacular term), a major sociopolitical issue in most other East European countries, are much less numerous and less controversial in Poland. Estimates of the Gypsy population in Poland range from 15,000 to 50,000. Czechoslovakia's Gypsy population, by contrast, numbered 500,000 in the 1980s, when Poland became a transit point on the illegal migration route from Romania to Germany. Emigration of Polish Gypsies to Germany in the late 1980s reduced Poland's Gypsy population by as much as 75 percent. Nevertheless, negative stereotypes remain strong in Polish society, and acts of violence and discrimination against this most visible minority are common in Poland. In 1991 a mob destroyed a wealthy Gypsy neighborhood in central Poland. The Polish governments has adopted no comprehensive policy on Gypsies byt instead had treated violent acts against them as isolated incidents.
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