The daily rations at Auschwitz consisted of black coffee in the morning, soup at noon, and bread and margarine after the roll call at 6 in the afternoon. Wiesel first mentions it as "bread with something" and is more specific later.
The fact that the food is of poor quality, as well as being small and unvaried, is obvious from the fact that Elie refuses his initial portion of soup (a "thick" soup) but "eagerly" eats any kind of soup by the third day. Though the information about the food is unsurprising, these facts alone are the clearest indication of the genocidal intent of the Nazis. Even for the prisoners who were not sent to the gas chamber, the intended result of being given scanty, poor rations while being forced to do difficult physical labor was death by starvation and overwork. The gas chambers and crematoria were merely a quicker way of doing what the Nazis had intended from the start through any means available: the mass murder of the Jewish population of Europe.