What’s further helping restitution efforts in the 21st century, Zimmer told me, is that so many archives now are digitized. “That allows us,” she said, “to work in networks over countries, and across specializations, and to achieve results that were much harder to realize only five years ago.” O’Donnell agrees that the current moment is vitally important. “There is urgency, because we are at the outer limits of surviving people who remember what happened to the collections,” he said. “I don’t think time is running out on the issue, but I do think, like with a lot of questions about the Holocaust, the next 10 years are very important.”Whether restitution efforts can make significant progress will depend on whether museums are willing to give up key items in their collections to right historic wrongs, and whether members of the public are willing to see public funds invested in these efforts, and to confront events that many people would rather move on from. What’s clear from previous cases, though, is that there’s real value in facing the past rather than turning away from it.Andrea Baresel-Brand talks about a case she worked on years ago, where a small museum in Germany made attempts of its own volition to return items in its collection that were taken from a Jewish family. In that instance, she said, the museum located the family’s children, who had been rescued by Kindertransport and taken to Britain. They agreed to come to Germany for the first time since the war to accept the items in a ceremony. “They were moved, and they were open,” she said. “They were grateful. They were critical. And when you heard the speeches, everyone was crying. Me too. And after a while, the family decided to give the objects back to the museum. It wasn’t a high-priced item, it wasn’t a Monet, or whatever. And it was a small museum, and here were people that were good, were honest. They wanted to do the right thing.”