Polish police have fined a Dutch tourist for giving a nazi salute at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

"Officers from (the southern city of) Oswiecim detained a 29-year-old woman from the Netherlands today," regional police tweeted.

"The tourist had been performing the Hitler salute in front of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) gate," they added.

"The detainee was charged with engaging in Nazi propaganda. She confessed."

Prosecutors issued her with a fine as punishment, which she accepted, according to the Polish news agency PAP.

It added that she was caught in the act by guards while posing for a photo taken by her husband.

"She explained it away as a bad joke," regional police press officer Bartosz Izdebski said.

The Holocaust site has become a symbol of Nazi Germany's genocide of six million Jewish Europeans, one million of whom died at the camp between 1940 and 1945.