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Yahrzeit
Yahrzeit
Season 5
Number 22
Writer Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Norberto Barba
Original Airdate 29 April, 2009
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Previous Episode: The Past, Present and Murder
Next Episode: Greater Good

Yahrzeit is the twenty-second episode in Season Five of CSI: NY.

Synopsis[]

A murder leads CSI to a group of white supremacists, the discovery of precious items stolen from Holocaust survivors, and perhaps the uncovering of a former Nazi guard.

Plot[]

A bleeding man stumbles into the middle of a Felix Marshall auction and collapses to the floor, dead. When the team arrives, Flack tells them the man is Xander Green, an appraiser for the auction house. Mac picks up the man's phone and notices an active call still in progress. There's no one on the line, but he notices it began 48 minutes ago...approximately eight minutes before Green staggered into the auction. Stella and Danny follow the blood trail from the victim back to his office. Danny finds blood splatter, and Stella surmises that the office is the primary crime scene. In the morgue, Sid shows Mac eight dots on the victim's shoulder, unsure of what the pattern signifies. Sid also shows Mac that Green was stabbed and shot. At the lab, Danny notices Hawkes is upset after receiving a phone call. Hawkes tells Danny that his Uncle Frank had a heart attack and died suddenly, and Danny immediately volunteers to cover for his friend. Adam tells Mac that the bullet that killed Green came from a German Luger and was made of steel, indicating it was an older weapon from the 1940s. Danny learns that the call Green placed went to voicemail, and he's able to obtain a recording, which reveals that Green argued with someone just before he was shot. Danny surprises Mac with the identity of the person who received the call: Michael Elgers, the Neo-Nazi Flack questioned in connection to a bombing in "Green Piece." Recalling the dots on Green's arm, Mac wonders if he, too, was a Neo-Nazi. Danny is on his way to question Elgers when he runs into Hawkes, whose plane is delayed. Despite Danny's reluctance, Hawkes insists on accompanying Danny. When they find Elgers at his shop, he's hostile and argumentative, going so far as to spit at Hawkes, causing Danny to throw him down and slam his head into the ground repeatedly.

When Elgers is brought in, he demands a lawyer, claiming he's a victim of police brutality. Watching from behind the glass, Hawkes admonishes Danny for attacking Elgers, claiming the CSI gave him what he was looking for. Hawkes leaves to catch his plane just as Mac comes in to interrogate Elgers. After exchanging a few heated words with the CSI team leader, Elgers admits he and Green were friends, and that he didn't pick up Green's third call to him because Green would accidentally "ass dial" him with his cell phone. He recalls from the previous two calls that Green was angry with someone named Abraham. This leads Mac to Abraham Klein, who was at the auction house just before Green's murder. Abraham tells Mac that he fought with Green when the man wanted to appraise a piece Abraham was selling at a price higher than what it was worth. Abraham was selling a piece of his dead wife's jewelry so that his son, David, would have money when their watch repair business stopped being profitable. Mac notices a tattoo on the man's arm and Abraham tells him that he was at Auschwitz and has shunned religion ever since. Back at the lab, Adam shows Mac a weapon the Nazis used combining a short bayonet and a pistol. During the demonstration, Mac gets a call that someone broke into Green's apartment. When he and Adam meet Flack there, they discover a hidden room behind a bookshelf filled with items from the Holocaust, including a diary belonging to a woman named Esther Schnitzler. When the print on the door handle matches Elgers, the three go to arrest him. As Flack leads the struggling Neo-Nazi away, Adam shows Mac a similar room above Elgers' shop—complete with a large collection of weapons. It appears Elgers is indeed the killer.

Unsettled, Mac pays a visit to Ben Lesnick, a representative of Israel who keeps testimonials from Holocaust survivors. After telling the man about Esther Schnitzler, Mac mentions that his father helped to liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp. Lesnick pulls up video testimonial from Hannah Schnitzler, Esther's cousin. In the testimonial, Hannah shares that Esther had arranged for a young man named Klaus Braun to help her and her family escape in exchange for a valuable family brooch. But Klaus betrayed them—he turned out to be a member of the Hitler Youth group, and he drove Esther and her family to Auschwitz instead of safety, where they were executed. Disturbed, Mac asks for a copy of the testimonial. Back at the lab, Danny tells Mac he's been given a two-week suspension without pay for his altercation with Elgers. Stella pulls Mac aside—Adam wasn't able to connect any of Elgers' weapons to Green's wound, and Elgers' alibi for the murder checks out. When Mac notices a picture of one of the models wearing Esther's brooch his suspicions lean elsewhere. He ages Klaus Braun's photo and is surprised to discover Abraham Klein's face looking back at him!

Mac brings Abraham in: the man has been posing as a Jewish person for years to hide from his past. He killed Green when the man recognized the brooch from Esther's journal and, realizing who Abraham was, tried to blackmail him. Abraham refuses to admit his true identity until Max reveals there are men from the Israeli government there to to verify his identity as Klaus which Lesnick did upon arrival and before revealing that Klaus’s father was unfortunately an SS Engineer and the one who unfortunately built the crematoria at Auschwitz and how unfortunately efficient it was. With his façade exposed, Klaus responds Wir hätten sie alle töten sollen in German, which Lesnick translates to We should have killed them all. Due to Lesnick obviously translating what Klaus said into a confession that he was a former Nazi. Klaus is arrested for Xander Green's murder and for his crimes against humanity during WWII. As Klaus is taken away, he is silently disowned by his son David, who is disappointed and furious that his father committed such heinous crimes. Despite learning the truth about his heritage, David chooses to accept Jewish faith over the man he has just discovered was a Nazi.

Later that evening, Mac receives an email from Lesnick. It contains a video link and the message "Thought you might want to see this". Turning on the video, Mac is presented with the testimony of holocaust survivor George Savar. After recounting the horrors he endured at his concentration camp, George explains how he was rescued from his suffering by an American soldier. He explains how this man not only treated him kindly, but personally carried him to a waiting vehicle, gave him his jacket and a bar of chocolate. George says that this soldiers actions not only saved him, but allowed him to start his life over again and ultimately live a happy life with a loving family. George also reveals that he never forgot the name of the man who rescued him. He cheerfully reveals that the man's name was Private McCanna Boyd Taylor; Mac's father.

Even though the case is now closed and the killer has been brought to justice, there is still one last thing that needs to be done. Mac pays a visit to Esther's cousin, Hannah, informing her that they have not only recovered her cousin's heirloom, but brought the man who killed Esther's family to justice. Upon seeing the brooch, the overjoyed Hannah thanks Mac and invites him to join her in a prayer as she lights a yahrzeit candle in honor of her relatives. When asked if their is anyone he would like to pray for as well, Mac says that there—his father. The episode ends with Hannah singing her prayer dedicated to the memories of Esther, her family and McCanna Boyd Taylor.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Edward Asner as Abraham Klein/Klaus Braun
    • John Justice as Young Klaus Braun
  • Meagan Tandy as Model #1
  • Summer Altice as Model #2
  • Laura Miro as Alice Tanaka
  • Adrian Neil as Auction House Manager
  • Matt McTighe as Michael Elgers
  • Modi Rosenfeld as David Klein/Braun
  • Scott Cohen as Ben Lesnick
  • Rita Zohar as Hannah Schnitzler
  • Melinda Y. Cohen as Esther Schnitzler
  • Shelley Berman as George Savar
  • Natalia Castellanos as Sexy Woman
  • Rick Marcus as Xander Green
  • Kiersten Hall as Billy

Trivia[]

  • The original air date, April 29, 2009, was the 64th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.
  • Mac's father was named for Gary Sinise's wife Moira's older brother, McCanna Boyd Harris, a decorated Vietnam veteran.
  • The title refers to the Hebrew tradition of honoring a loved one on the anniversary of their death. A candle like the one shown is used in the ceremony.
  • Many of the actors portraying Jewish or in Abraham and David’s cases allegedly Jewish characters are/were actually Jewish themselves.
  • An ironic fact about the episode's main antagonist/criminal of the week, Abraham Klein/Klaus Braun, is that, despite the character being a former Nazi officer and war criminal, the actor who portrayed him as an adult, Edward Asner (1929–2021), was Jewish (more precisely, he was an Orthodox Jew and the son of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe) and was a very active activist in the fight for the rights of Holocaust survivors.

See Also[]

CSI:NY Season 5
VeritasPage TurnerTurbulenceSex, Lies, and SiliconeThe Cost of LivingEnoughDead InsideMy Name is Mac TaylorThe BoxThe TriangleForbidden FruitHelpRush to JudgementShe's Not ThereThe Party's OverNo Good DeedGreen PiecePoint of No ReturnCommunication BreakdownPrey (NY)The Past, Present and MurderYahrzeitGreater GoodGrounds For DeceptionPay Up
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