LUENEBURG, Germany — The former SS guard known as the “accountant of Auschwitz,” charged as an accessory in the deaths of more than 300,000 Hungarian Jews in what’s likely to be one of the last trials of Nazi war crimes, laid out his defense Tuesday, acknowledging his moral guilt.

“It is clear to me that I am morally guilty,” Oskar Groening, now 93, told a rapt audience of Holocaust survivors, family members, lawyers and journalists in an hourlong opening statement on the first day of his trial. “I confront this guilt with remorse and humility to the victims. It is up to the court to decide whether my guilt is legally relevant.”

Groening, however, denied participating in the murders that took place at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where he spent 25 months during World War II. He expressed pride at having stopped what he said had been rampant thefts of belongings left behind by the hundreds of thousands of Jews. Groening used a walker and needed considerable help Tuesday to reach the witness chair.