The 48-year-old actress was talking to the Sunday Times about her experiences with anti-Semitism within the movie industry when she recalled an awkward encounter with the "Braveheart" star, who upset Jews when comments he made to a Jewish police officer during a drink driving arrest in 2006 went public.
"We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends, and Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we're all talking and he said to my friend, who's gay, 'Oh wait, am I gonna get Aids?' " Ryder told the newspaper. "And then something came up about Jews, and he said, 'You're not an oven dodger, are you?' ''
Winona revealed Mel later tried to apologise to her, but she was particularly upset by his comments as she had family members who died in the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.
"I do identify (as Jewish)," she said. "It's a hard thing for me to talk about because I had family who died in the camps, so I've always been fascinated with that time."
Winona went on to reveal she once lost a movie role because producers felt she looked "too Jewish."
''There are times when people have said, 'Wait, you're Jewish? But you're so pretty!'" she added. "There was a movie that I was up for a long time ago, it was a period piece, and the studio head, who was Jewish, said I looked 'too Jewish' to be in a blue-blooded family."