Rudi Westerveld was born Jaap Rudolf Isaac by the end of 1942. His parents were summoned to Westerbork when he was five months old. Rudi was then sent into hiding with an Austrian friend of his mother's, while his parents were forwarded to Sobibor and gassed there.
Rudi was unaware of his past during childhood and had a care-free youth. He learned of his background only gradually. By the time he went to university he had himself adopted officially. Rudi studied engineering in Delft and after graduation stayed there for another forty years teaching. Within this period, Rudi worked as a development-aid worker in Mozambique for nearly five years, assisting at the upcoming telecommunication revolution. In Mozambique he also met his current wife, Monique. They have a son together.