Skulls and other remains of massacred tribespeople used in the colonial era for experiments to push claims of European racial superiority were handed over by Germany to Namibia at a church ceremony in Berlin.

In what historians call the first genocide of the 20th century, soldiers of German Kaiser Wilhelm slaughtered some 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama tribespeople in a 1904-08 campaign after a revolt against land seizures by German colonists.

At Wednesday's ceremony, a Namibian delegation received the skulls and bones from German Foreign Ministry representatives. They will be taken to the Namibian capital Windhoek on Friday, where rituals will be carried out.