George Kaldellis was a Greek-born citizen of Rapture, born on August 5th 1907. A respected retail chain owner in Greece on the surface, he was unable to rebuild his empire in Rapture and went back to his roots as a butcher.
George was born in a small village near Zalongo. The third child of impoverished rural farmers, he grew up without a proper education, spending most of his time doing odd jobs to earn money or helping his parents on the farm. His father, named Theodoros, was a kindly yet strict recovering alcoholic, and his mother, Despina, grew sick from stress and overwork when George was a young kid, leaving his elder sister to take over her roles as housewife of the Kaldellis household. Both his parents were strongly liberal politically, but also very patriotic and religious. George's family went to church regularly, no matter the circumstances, and he had strong moral values installed in him by both his parents. The farm remained poor throughout George's childhood, with vandalism, theft, bad weather, debt and eventually war making big harvests almost impossible.
George was only around five when the Balkan Wars against the Ottoman Empire and later Bulgaria broke out, and while his parents were against war, they did try to educate the young child about the political aspects of it. While he and his friends were interested in the war (most kids in his village had juvenile interests in things like war and combat), he had no care for the politics involved at such a young age and ultimately it had minimal direct impact on his life. His older brother, who was 18, fought, but he came back alive. He was however, quite mentally disturbed after his return, and a leg injury meant George had to take over much of the manual work his older brother used to do around the house and farm. His father used this as an opportunity to further educate George about several aspects of farming and housework, and later even interests like politics and morality.
Greece only entered the Great War in 1917, but the war had caused economic hardships for the Kaldellis family, as well as constant fears of war on their doorstep, and many of the vines and fields they owned were destroyed when a few stray bombs accidentally bombarded the village and the surrounding farms. To help support his family, the 10-year old George began selling old mechanical and electrical parts, as well as herbs and flowers he'd picked, in the nearest village market to try and provide an extra source of income for his family. George was a surprisingly successful salesman and entrepreneur, and generated a decent profit and got a good reputation in the community. At the age of 16, George's mother died after a lengthy illness, and with none of the Kaldellis children willing to take over the farm, Theodoros sold it to a wealthy entrepreneur. George decided to begin living his youth and further expanding his business to support his frail father, his crippled brother and his two younger sisters. Only his elder sister, who had left to become a nurse and mother in a city down south, had the ability to support herself.
Expanding the businessEdit
George brought a small shop and the flat above it in a nearby town to serve as a starting point for his business. George thought this would be the perfect place to house his family and work on his interests and business. Originally, he went to work as a butcher, having learnt the trade and grown a passion for it while on the farm. Eventually, as a side project, he started selling similar junk as to what he sold when on the streets, but eventually began training himself with electronics, mechanics and such until he was able to sell working goods to tourist and local alike. By the time he was 24, he was running a profitable, large shop and delivery surface selling a wide variety of goods, enough to pay for medical treatment for his father and brother and a proper education for his younger sisters. While electronics, mechanics and other ventures were what made him profitable, the career of butcher had treated him well and he carried on with being a butcher until he brought his second branch in 1935.
By 1937, George had become a successful entrepreneur, owning over 20 shops throughout Greece, selling everything from meats to radios. While his father, his mentor and carer, passed away in 1935, he met Zoe the next year. The two hit it off, and while George had had many unsuccessful relationships in the past, this one lasted, and by 1938 the two were married. Life for George was more than comfortable, and he was able to devote time to other interests, including politics, reading and music, leading many to suspect he was trying to fit into the richer section of society he was now a member of. This was disproved, however, when he continued to hang out with his less successful friends, and continued his work in farming, butchering and salesmanship. He also made no attempt to hide his rural accent, but for business reasons did learn English, German, Turkish, Italian and Romanian, and learnt the basics of Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.
World War IIEdit
George had three children while in Greece; Cyril Kaldellis, born January 11th 1939 and twins Irene and Christina born in September 25th 1940. The young kids looked set to be raised well and have a good lifestyle, when the Italian fascists finally attacked Greece in October of that year. While Greece fared well against the invading Italians, the war destroyed many of his assets, as trade was cut, shops were closed down, production was diverted to war and employees were forced into fighting. George feared for the lives of him and his family as the war carried on, fearing that eventually a stray bullet may hit one of his family members, or even worse that the Axis would firmly take hold of Greece and get him and his family for his outspoken anti-fascist views. Things were looking good however, as the Greek forces pushed Italian troops back to Albania, but then the Germans intervened.
Within weeks, George's beloved Greece was under Axis control, his business in tatters and his life at risk. He resided in the Italian occupation zone, which compared to the zones run by the Germans and Bulgarians, was fairly mild. However, his business was still in ruins and had to sell off most his properties, packing up his families and possessions and residing in a small flat in rural Greece, a few miles from his native Zalongo, where he struggled to revive his business in the hostile, wartorn environment. The local Italian commander, Andrea Tartaglia, was a weak-willed yet friendly man, and under Tartaglia virtually no atrocities happened to the small community Kaldellis was now a part of. However, Kaldellis, bored with his current life and shocked at the atrocities going on in other parts of Greece, became an active member of the resistance, providing a vital role in smuggling weaponry and refugees.
Aside from a few close calls, the resistance movement George was a part of did well, with several nearby communities basically becoming independent thanks to their activities. Tartaglia had no interest in stopping the resistance, and instead focused on hunting and reading. Unfortunately, the Italian armistice in 1943 meant the Germans took over the Italian occupation zone and extended their policies to it, and many Italian troops, Tartaglia included, were killed. The Nazis stamped down hard on the resistance, and George's assets were destroyed and many of his friends killed. George and his family fled to an isolated rural mountain camp, where they remained until the war ended, observing the war. The resistance movement continued to exist and George continued to be a member, but they were unable to do much, mainly just helping the occasional refugee.
In late 1944, as Soviet troops advanced and threatened to cut the German garrisons in Greece off, the Germans began to withdraw from Greece, leaving a shattered land behind them. Most were jubilant about the Germans leaving, but Greece was still a mess. The country was weak and George and Zoe decided it was no place to start a business or raise a family. George briefly considered politics to help sort out Greece's problems, but decided against it. He thought about migrating, but the only countries he could get to where other poor, wartorn nations, or countries being swallowed up by the Soviets. The only careers George had knowledge in were retail, electronics, farming and butchering, and with the first two out of the question, George prepared to move back to a small farm or shop. That was until he received the invitation to come down to Rapture.
Early years in RaptureEdit
After consulting and convincing his wife, the couple and their children moved down to Rapture in late 1948. George was sad to leave Greece behind, but he felt Rapture was the safest and the best place to bring up his children until he was sure the surface world was safe again. George immediately set out trying to rebuild his retail business, trying to find good suppliers and an affordable location. However, this was hard for George, as in the competitive business market of Rapture, he found the supermarket niche had already been filled by those with better skills, better connections or simply better luck, and he decided to just focus on maintaining a suitable income for now instead of setting his sights too high. He assured his family that he would get to work on restarting a bigger business later.
So, he moved to the Janus Complex, an area devoted to housing the workers of Rapture, and established a butchers. The Kaldellis Butchery made enough money to feed George's growing family (he had two final children; Hector in 1950 and Thea in 1952), employ a couple of local youths to help around the shop and have a relatively comfortable lifestyle, but they were still comparative nobodies and were at the end of the day quite poor. His older children longed for their friends and lifestyles back on the surface, and family arguments became all too common, particularly when George prohibited his family from Splicing, viewing it as immoral and a lazy way to achieve success. Unfortunately, his son Hector was a sickly child and socially awkward too, meaning attendance at the local school was a hassle for all involved, so Hector was home-taught by George and his wife, as well as sometimes a charitable friendly neighbour.
Civil war begins to formEdit
By the time tensions were beginning to run high in Rapture, with smuggling and the widespread poverty and persecution of the lower-wealth citizenry of Rapture being particularly touchy issues, George's older children were already beginning to get part-time jobs and become more independent, and George himself was beginning to grow grey and frail from age.