From the 15th century onward Roma have been a stable element of Poland's ethnic structure. Differently than other ethnic minorities they did not succumb to the process of assimilation with the native population. For centuries there had been no major changes in Romani customs, the basic one being a nomadic lifestyle. In the course of increasing totalitarian tendencies of the political system established in Poland in 1945, the Roma's nomadic and thus uncontrolled lifestyle was in growing contradiction with the norms imposed on the whole of society. Starting from 1952 special administrative measures were implemented towards a social assimilation of the Roma, but their efficiency was limited, especially in what was the central objective of state policy regarding Roma, namely inducing them to convert to a settled life. Wielkopolska (Great Poland) was one of those regions where realization of the state policy toward Roma encountered serious obstacles. Although actions undertaken in the years 1952-1975 did bring significant changes in the Roma's way of life, the process of their social assimilation was to continue for many years. In certain respects even today it cannot be considered as completed.
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