Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised a legal change in Poland that would make it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Holocaust.

The draft bill, which amends an existing law, would also criminalise describing Nazi concentration camps in Poland as "Polish".

More than three million Polish Jews died during World War II. Over one million people, predominantly Jews, died in Polish concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Netanyahu strongly condemned the proposed amendment. He described it as an attempt to rewrite history and Holocaust denial.

"I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," he told his cabinet on Sunday (28 January).

"We will under no circumstances accept any attempt to rewrite history."

The Polish government said that the legislation aimed to prevent Poles being blamed for Nazi atrocities.

"Jews, Poles and all victims should be guardians of the memory of all who were murdered by German Nazis," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter.

"Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and 'Arbeit Macht Frei' [the slogan over the gates of the camp] is not a Polish phrase."

The two leaders "agreed to open immediate dialogue between teams from both countries to try to reach understandings on the legislation," a spokesperson for the Israeli leader's office said.

"We will accept no limitation on truthful historical research," Netanyahu told his cabinet. "Our ambassador in Warsaw spoke with the prime minister of Poland during last night's ceremony commemorating the Holocaust at Auschwitz, and emphasised these positions of ours."

The ceremony was a memorial service marking the 73rd anniversary of the concentration camp's liberation.

Israel's Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett described the bill as a "shameful disregard of the truth".

"It is a historic fact that many Poles aided in the murder of Jews, handed them in, abused them, and even killed Jews during and after the Holocaust," he said, although he did acknowledge that the term "Polish camps" was not accurate.

"It is also a historic fact that the Germans initiated, planned, and built the work and death camps in Poland. That is the truth and no law will rewrite it. These facts must be taught to the next generation," he said.

Holocaust Memorial Day
1.1 million people, predominantly Jews, lost their lives at the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland during World War II. Kuba Ociepa/Reuters