The perception that the twins were "vicious and bloody gangsters" was wrong, and in the East End of London their reputation was still high, he added.
A frequently weeping Mr Kray, right, was giving evidence at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London where he is accused of involvement in a pounds 39m drugs plot.
Mr Kray, 70, said he often played the role of peacemaker where his brothers were concerned. Questioned by his defence counsel, Jonathan Goldberg QC, he agreed " the public perception was of very violent and bloody gangsters" but insisted this was wrong "until you knew them."
He continued: " Ronnie had a mental illness and had certain mood swings and roundabouts. When he was alive he was a kind-hearted man who would help anybody, but he was not responsible when he had those moods.
"Reggie had a few fights and things like that but when his wife Frances died he kind of had a death wish..
" We know what they did was wrong but normal people in life they always treated with great respect and always helped. If you go to the East End and ask about them people will say they always helped people as best they could."
Mr Kray told the jury he was " just telling stories" to undercover detectives when he offered to sell them cocaine because he thought he could make money from them through his famous name. Mr Goldberg said Mr Kray had a burden similar to other famous people, citing Jimmy Carter and his " buffoon" brother Billy, and John Major and and his brother Terry. The case continues.Reuse content