'Restitution', or 'rehabilitation' is the process where Germany today seeks to recognise the efforts of individuals as patriotic to German, though who had not been seen as such previously.
Ignored and set aside in post-war Germany, Kolbe's heroic contribution came to light after President Clinton released war records in 1998. This was documented in an article in 2001 in the German newspaper, Der Spiegel. This was followed by Lucas Delattre's book.
Kolbe wrote: Those who didn't want to see or understand anything continued their successful careers in the ministry...My aim was to help my poor nation end the war sooner and to cut short the suffering of the people in the camps. I don't know if I succeeded. But what I did manage to do was to make the Americans see that there were people in Germany who were resisting the regime without asking anything in return. People who acted purely out of conviction. No one has the right to give me good marks for my conduct during that period. No one can withdraw from me or grant to me my honour.
In 2012 the Kolbe family handed Fritz's private papers to the Foreign office (Der Auswärtiges Amt) in Berlin.