A bit of googling told me more: just before World War II, Mieczysław Chałupczyński had been Poland's charge de affaires in Slovakia, were he tried desperately to find allies against the impending invasions by giant neighbors Germany and the Soviet Union. His efforts failed, and Slovakia participated in the German invasion of Poland - only to be itself swallowed up by its totalitarian neighbors.
Chałupczyński presumably escaped to London and joined the government in exile, which called itself Free Poland. He became his government-without-a-state's ambassador to Colombia, which had broken relations with Germany in 1941. Colombia declared war on Germany in 1943.
Sadly, sometime during the last 65 years, the coat of arms was stolen, probably by a drug addict who sold the metal for a few pesos. Chałupczyński apparently has been forgotten by the Polish-Colombian community as well. Also, beside Chałupczyński's tomb is an empty one. Was this intended for his wife? Where did she die? That's a mystery which is probably lost to history.
As for the Polish couple, who are from Krakow, they described their nation as divided between younger progressive people and strict religious and cultural conservatives, but independent and moving forward as a member of the European Union.
Perhaps from somewhere above Chałupczyński is looking on from somewhere above, proud that his nation is finally free and independent.
|A plaque placed in the Central Cemetery in 2012 by the Polish Embassy commemorates an earlier Polish immigrant, who fought for Colombia's independence.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours