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In a tidy German village on the edge of the Thuringian forest, several dozen locals gather over cake and canapes to listen to coronavirus skeptics decry the state of Europe’s largest economy.

Sonneberg, population 23,000, was home to a flourishing toy industry a century ago and still boasts one of the world’s largest teddy bears, but as Germany prepares to go to polls on Sept. 26, the mood here is darkening, for all the superficial decorum.

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