Seconds were crucial at the borderline. And a machine gun
Pavol Beláň was born on 30 March 1951 in Veľké Ripňany in the Nitra region in Slovakia. His father, also named Pavol, fought in the Second World War on the Eastern Front near Lviv. After the war, he became an official and later a chairman of the local united agricultural cooperative (UAC) and that is why Pavol Beláň grew up in a pro-regime environment. He graduated from Forestry Vocational School in the 1960s and he subsequently worked as a lumberjack. In 1970, he joined the Second Border Company in Pasečná in the area of the Bohemian Forrest and started his basic military service. He served as a dog handler in the borderline area. During his service at the state border, he witnessed and experienced several tense situations involving “fighting intruders,” suicides, as well as stories with happier endings. When he returned from military service in 1974, he, following his father´s example, joined the Czechoslovak Communist Party. He disassociated himself from the Party in the 1980s. In 2015, he published a commemorative book Poviedky z hranice - Pasečná 1970-72 (Stories from the borderline - Pasečná 1970-1972). Nowadays (2020), he lives in the town of Partizánske, less than forty kilometres from his native Veľké Ripňany.